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.
You know that family member who's always the loudest, always the centre of attention, , talking at the top of their lungs to get everyone to listen in? Yeah, that's the 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth Cabrio: just imagine that family member yammering on with a heavy Italian accent as they tell each sordid, long-winded tale.