Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department

The "quiet cars" rules for electric vehicles and hybrids have been finalized by the US Department of Transportation. Full compliance will apparently be required by 2020.

The long-delayed rules, which were first demanded by Congress in 2010, will require automakers like Tesla Inc, Nissan Motor Co and General Motors Co to add sounds to vehicles when they are moving at speeds of up to 18.6 miles per hour (30 km per hour) to help prevent injuries among pedestrians, cyclists and the blind.

The regulation requires the sounds be added to all “quiet” vehicles by September 2020 - a year behind the schedule announced by the administration of former President Barack Obama in November 2016. Automakers must have the sounds in 50 percent of vehicles by September 2019...

At higher speeds, tire noise, wind resistance, and other factors eliminate the need for a separate alert sound, regulators say.

(Via Reuters.)

Science fiction Grandmaster Robert Heinlein predicted this in his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, introducing the idea of an automotive sound tape for otherwise silent cars.

Starting about 2150 or a little bit earlier... supreme swank for an Iowa farmer was to own and drive a working replica of a twentieth century "automobile" personal transport vehicle. Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil: Even the People's Republic of South Africa had laws against placing poisons in the air. But with its Shipstone concealed and a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "IC" engine, the difference between a working replica and a real "automobile" was not readily apparent.

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