One of the greatest joys of teenage drivers is to rev the engine of their cars, the loudness of the rumble of the motor a measure of the coolness they feel. But, without a motor, electric cars like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf make no purring sound. The lack of engine noise is not merely an aesthetic defect to the teenage driver; it also is a safety concern for the blind as well as the distracted who may not know a car is swishing inches by them at 30 mph. To address this issue, recently passed legislation will require the Chevy Volt to get some vroom.
In a rare display of nonpartisanship, both the Senate and the House approved the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which now goes to the Presidentís desk for his signature. The act requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish standards and performance requirements for a means to alert pedestrians that an EV is operating nearby. The act gives a year and a half for the sound requirements to be developed.
The National Federation of the Blind is delighted that the legislation passed. Obviously, the blind need to hear the sound of traffic to judge how to safely cross intersections. The act also will benefit bicyclists who also rely on sound to know if a car is coming behind them, as well as inattentive pedestrians (which are pretty much all of us at sometime or another) who donít really expect to see a car unless they hear it first.
In anticipation of the legislative requirements, car manufacturers are already planning to include alert noises on their EVís and hybrids starting next year. GM will unveil a distinctive noise for the Volt, which may be something like "bruup, bruup.Ē Although this sound will alert pedestrians, teenage drivers will likely remain disappointed by the vroom of EVís.
original source - http://taintedgreen.com/government-p...m/000874/mm-17