One of the defining features of Electric cars has been their near silence when operating, but they won’t lead to the noise-free cities many had hoped for. In the United States at least, all electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be required by law to make some kind of noise.
Passed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the law goes into effect in September of 2019 and is predicted to help prevent 2,400 pedestrian injuries annually.
Although the NHTSA didn’t specify the kind of noise electrified cars have to make, it pointed out that they must be clearly heard whether moving forward or in reverse. NHTSA administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind stated:
“This is a common-sense tool to help pedestrians — especially folks who are blind or have low vision — make their way safely.”
Interestingly, battery-powered cars will only need to make noise at speeds of up to 19 mph (31 km/h) because, as the organization explains, making noise above that speed isn’t necessary due to such factors as tire and wind noise alerting pedestrians of an oncoming vehicle.
The law also only applies to vehicles with four wheels, meaning two-wheelers like electric Vespas and motormikes will be allowed to operate in total silence.