Electric vehicles are all about silent, efficient cruising, but that poses a safety problem for unsuspecting pedestrians and motorists around them. Therefore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing minimum sound standards.
"Safety is our highest priority, and this proposal will help keep everyone using our nation's streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Each automaker would be able to choose from a number of different sounds for its vehicles, the NHTSA says, but the characteristics of those sounds would need to meet certain minimum requirements. For instance, all vehicles of the same make and model would need to emit the same sound.
For some reason the wisdom of smaller-than-standard size vans evaded North America until mid-2009 when the first Transit Connect arrived. The vehicle immediately won North American Truck of the Year at the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and has proven itself popular with buyers ever since.