NHTSA adds safety sound requirement for new electric and hybrid vehicles

Electric cars and hybrid vehicles can be incredibly quiet – so quiet that a populace used to cars that make noise can be hurt when sharing space with them. New NHTSA standards for automakers aim to help fix that with audible alerts hat are required on all new hybrid and electric going forward beginning September 1, 2019.

The new sound requirements applies across the U.S., and should help prevent as many as 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once they span the range of EVs and hybrids on the road. The new rule specifically states than all-electric and hybrid cars that have four wheels and weigh under 10,000 pounds must make an audible noise when traveling either backwards or forwards at speeds up of to 19 miles per hour. Beyond that, NHTSA says a nose isn’t required, because tires and wind provide enough.

The rule comes fully into effect at the beginning of September 2019, as mentioned, but half of all new electric and hybrids made must comply a year prior to that, by September 1, 2018. This could impact a significantly larger portion of vehicles by then, given the current vehicle roadmaps of the various automakers, which are looking forward to adding many more electric cars to their lineups.