NHTSA to issue final rule on noise requirements for EVs

NHTSA to issue final rule on noise requirements for EVs

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said recently that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would issue a final rule by November requiring more noise in electric vehicles and hybrids. Because of the required timetable for federal regulations on vehicles, automakers will have until at least 2018 to comply with the rule.

Congress passed a law in 2010 requiring NHTSA to write a rule mandating a minimum sound level for EVs to alert pedestrians, bicyclists and other cars of the EVsê presence. Hybrid-pedestrian accidents are 19 percent more likely and hybrid-bicyclist accidents 38 percent more likely than with regular cars, NHTSA estimates.

NHTSA has studied the issue since 2007, but the rule has been delayed several times. Automakers asked NHTSA a year ago to eliminate the phase-in period and require full compliance in fall 2016 so they would have enough time to install the new systems.

Automakers objected that the minimum sound required would be louder than some high-performance sports cars. NHTSAês proposed rule requires the sound to be audible at speeds up to 18.6 mph. Automakers said that any sound that could be heard above 12.4 mph would interfere with safety alerts in the car.

NHTSA estimates the rule will cost automakers $23 million in the first year and add $35 to the carês sticker price.

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