Electric cars have become a staple in the auto industry. With noise pollution being a large factor in why consumers purchase these models, the industry is looking at increasing the noise, but why?
Electric Cars: A Silent Issue
Hybrid Cars have been the focus of many issues. A large factor is from pedestrians who have a hearing disability. Another is from children who are not aware of their surroundings. They make up a percentage of electric car accidents.
The Hearing Disabled.
Hybrid cars do not emit enough sound if they are traveling under 30 miles per hour. This means that in low-speed, high pedestrian areas, this can present a problem. For pedestrians who are hard of hearing, this has equated to a larger number of incidences. Typically, louder engines were a signifier that the car was on and running. Thus, A louder engine means that you can hear it coming from a distance away. With hybrid vehicles, even those without impairment have trouble hearing them.
Reports of children in accidents involving hybrid vehicles have increased. This due to how silent they can be. If a child is running through the parking lot and doesn’t hear the car coming, they might think that it is safe to run out. As reports have shown, this has been the case. A large indicator that a vehicle is approaching is the sound of the engine. Parking lots are where this happens frequently. Children, being children, don’t hear the engine and they think it is safe to run into the road, but unknown to them, there is a vehicle coming, they just can’t hear it.
Electric Cars: Possible Solutions
The original idea was to cut down on the amount of noise that an automobile can produce. With hybrid/electric cars, this was an industry standard. It might seem like adding more noise is working backward from the original intent but it is the spatial awareness that is being worked on. Many industry leaders are experimenting with noise emitting technology that will alert pedestrians that a vehicle driving under 30 mph is nearby. This works perfectly for children and those hard of hearing. Typically low-speed areas are the highest at risk for these situations, so having a vehicle emit a noise that can be registered by everyone is imperative. Parking lots will be much safer for families and friends if their awareness of their surroundings is further expanded.
Some car companies have even decided to create a fake engine noise in order to make areas safer. When the vehicle is driving under 30 mph, a small speaker outside of the vehicle will be triggered and many in the surrounding area will be able to hear it.
As we have mentioned before, the idea of adding noise to an electric car may seem ironic or at least moving backward, but there are solid arguments and information to state that this might not be the best-case scenario. Especially for pedestrians who have an issue with hearing a vehicle coming up to them. Adding a level of noise will help reduce injuries and accidents for many people on the road and off the road.