Sound Idea

This article describes how the rise in popularity of hybrids and Electric Vehicles (EVs) is a result of environmental pressures, shifts in taxation and emerging technologies for batteries and motors. The article shows how competition among the car manufacturers means these vehicles need to be cost effective to buy and operate, plus fun and rewarding to drive. These requirements are often in direct conflict with each other and can be further compromised by consumer desires for acceptable levels of noise and comfort. The result is an affordable and increasingly popular vehicle offering near silent running, which is ideally suited for use in town and city. However, there is a growing concern that these vehicles are difficult to hear, thus increasing the risk of accidents. According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in scenarios such as those “in which a vehicle is slowing or stopping, backing up, or entering or leaving a parking space, a statistically significant effect was found due to engine type. The Hybrid or Electric Vehicle was two times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash in these situations than was an internal combustion vehicle.” The lack of sound from hybrid and electric cars is profound when objectively assessed; testing has shown that at 50km/h an EV cannot be heard until it is just 3m away. That compares to a distance of around 10m away for a conventional-engine car. The additional time gained, hearing the car from further away, could otherwise allow the pedestrian a chance to reach a place of safety in time.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01351636
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 12 2011 11:50AM