U.S. DoT Mandates EVs And Hybrids Can’t Run Silent At Low Speeds

Full electric and hybrid vehicles have until September, 2020 to become fully compliant with a new set of rules finalized by the U.S. Department of Transportation that requires “quiet cars” to emit some type of noise in order to warn pedestrians, cyclists and the blind.

Automakers such as Tesla, Nissan and GM will need to add these sounds to their cars, ensuring that they can be heard at speeds of up to 18.6 mph (30 km/h), according to Insurance Journal.

Nissan argued that an audible alert was only necessary up to 12.4 mph (20 km/h), yet the NHTSA felt otherwise. As for higher speeds, the general consensus is that tire noise, wind resistance and other factors eliminate the need for an additional running sound.

Regulators will now consider a request from automakers that would allow for the inclusion of multiple types of alert sounds, so that owners can select the ones they prefer.

The NHTSA estimates that automakers will spend about $40 million annually to add external waterproof speakers to their electrified vehicles in order to comply with the new rules. At the same time, benefits of reduced injuries are estimated at $250 million to $320 million annually.

The agency also states that the odds of a hybrid vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash are 19% higher than in the case of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Hopefully “louder” EVs and hybrids will keep that percentage in check.

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  • Bash

    This makes sense actually.

    • S3XY


      • Bash

        Only an idiot would need an explanation… but I don’t think you are one of them.

      • Stephen G

        There are dumb people walking around looking at their i phones and not paying attention to where they are going. (goto you tube to watch lady in NY falling into basement), so the rest of us have to protect them from their stupidity.

        • Infinite1


  • Lloyd Anthony D Peters

    I vote that the CEOs of these companies (Elon Musk, and the like) should make car noises with their mouths which will be used on the outside the car as noise up to 13mph. Lol

    • Moveon Libtards



  • Six_Tymes

    stupid, for the stupid

  • marioGTI

    Hooke em up with a fake exhaust rumble sound.

  • europeon

    Fisker Karma had sound generators that were making awesome noises at low speed.

    • Status


      I always thought of it as a Daft Punk space guitar riff.

      • LeStori

        Talk about one annoying sound. If we has a stream of EVs making that noise then it would be a noise pollution nightmare.

        • S3XY

          Annoying? Sounds like a otherworldly sentient starship.

  • brn

    If not accelerating, many ICE vehicles are as silent as EVs. Electric motors aren’t silent. Remove the sound deadening and you’ll find their sound quite annoying. Think of an electric drill.

    Any such mandate should be based on a minimum sound level, not a propulsion system.

  • Moveon Libtards

    Do people even buy Tesla’s anymore?

    Might explain why this site tries so hard to promote them. How’s that Model 3 working out for ya?


  • TheBelltower

    So we have to inject more noise into the air just to accommodate inattentive people who are looking at their phones while walking? Pass a law saying people can’t wear AirPods while crossing an intersection, then this legislation might actually be effective. Let’s pass laws that reduce noise pollution, not create more.

    • Vassilis

      No, this is a good idea because you don’t check a road every single time before crossing it unless you hear something coming. It’s not about using a phone or being inattentive.

      • S3XY

        “You don’t check a road every single time before crossing it?”

        You must be blind. Or stupid. Or both. Anyone with eyes looks both ways before crossing. if you don’t you’re apart of Darwins law.

        The inferior specimen will perish. Proper functioning eyes and awareness like a normal operating specimen looks both ways. Looking mindlessly down into the screen of their stupid phone and walking right out is a lesser specimen.

        • Vassilis

          You’re absolutely right. That’s why I find it surprising you’re still around. Your superior brain forgot to think of the fact there are many types of roads from fast-moving ones to very small and narrow ones in quiet neighbourhoods for example. On those roads you don’t need to check every time because you can hear a vehicle coming from 100 meters away.

          By the way, how come you didn’t upvote your own post again?

          • Jarosław Kotowicz

            My wife was born in a small village. Everytime we go there Im looking before I cross the road, Im using turn signals, whew Im pulling over I always doing it on the side of the road. Never in the center. She says that Im stupid because there is only one car for several minutes or even more. Well I think she is wrong especially when I see her bad habids when we are elsewhere. There is no such thing as safe and quiet roads.
            In Japan there is a philosophy that you always must point on things that you are doing to be sure you understand what you are doing. For exakoke on Toyots plant before crossing the road you must point to the right, left and again right. To be sure that you are safe.
            I think that not the cars are the problem but brainless people.

          • Vassilis

            It’s certainly good to be safe in general but many times you just don’t need to. If you’re aware of your surroundings you really don’t need to check a small road before crossing it. Well, at least that was the case before electric cars…

        • Infinite1

          I lost count how many times someone cross the road in front of me or in a parking lot not paying attention to cars. Distractions aside, a lot of people just don’t pay attention, normally. I do, but then again, I rather not get hit by someone on their phone while driving either.

          It’s a good step towards the right direction since EVs are essentially really quite. People are oblivious to their surroundings nowadays due to cell phones, being stupid, etc.

        • Jds65

          Wow, you are so much more superior than others! Someone get this guy an award… Typical Tesla fanboy, full of himself.

  • jaykit

    So my dogs are going to hate all electric cars in 2020?

    • LeStori

      So are the rest of the mammalian population. This includes humans. Might as well stick a couple of pipes at the back to immitate exhausts and make V8 noises. EV = Enviromental Vibration.

  • LeStori

    Think I will make mine sound like a machine gun… sure to get everyones attention.

    • Julien Lachemoi

      Just don’t drive near schools.

      • Oliver Moore

        Drive near schools.

  • S3XY

    So no one listens to music using their speakers?

  • Marty

    Not this discussion again. I think people who get upset about this are underestimating the amount of sound design invested in modern cars. To make an electric car sound exactly the way we expect an electric car to naturally sound is just routine work.

  • Infinite1

    Nature will always build a better idiot

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