Federal Quiet Car Rule for EVs and Hybrids Will Create Other Problems, Automakers Say


Automakers are looking for a balancing point between silent, dangers electric vehicles and hybrids and making vehicles so loud they create other unintended problems. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal sets minimum sound levels to eliminate what some safety advocates refer to as “silent killer” cars which can be dangerous for visually impaired pedestrians. The federal government wants sound warnings to go out to these people, other pedestrians, and bicyclists to prevent collisions. Automakers say the proposed rules would create sounds that are too loud and complicated and would make the vehicles louder than some sports cars.

Two major auto industry trade groups are challenging the proposed rules. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers issued a joint statement that says the proposed sounds are louder than necessary, create driver and occupant annoyance, and cost more than necessary. Making the rules uniform and enforceable becomes more complicated by the fact that some gasoline-powered sports cars would not be able to pass the tests, the groups said in their statement. The federal standard would start up in September 2014, and automakers would like to see the issues resolved as soon as possible.