Automakers have been tasked with creating sounds for hybrid and electric vehicles, so pedestrians can hear them around town. This has resulted in some odd noises, but thankfully drivers might have options in the future.
According to Reuters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed allowing automakers to offer an assortment of different sounds for their so-called “quiet cars.” This would be a significant change as the current rules only allow for one sound per vehicle.
The proposal comes in response to a request from automakers and it seems like a win-win for both the industry and consumers. It’s easy to see why as some vehicles – such as the 2019 Chevrolet Volt – create an odd sound that gets annoying quick.
Of course, the proposed change won’t happen overnight as the agency wants to get feedback from the public and safety groups. The primary focus of this effort is to determine “whether there should be a limit to the number of compliant sounds that a manufacturer can install in a vehicle and what that limit should be.”
The ‘quiet cars’ rule has been nearly a decade in the making and it won’t go into full effect until next September. It calls for vehicles that travel nearly silently to produce an artificial noise when traveling at speeds up to 18.6 mph (30 km/h). The goal of the legislation is to save lives of cyclists, pedestrians and the blind who otherwise might not know they’re in close proximity to a vehicle.