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The NHTSA Wants to Let You Choose What Fake Sound Your Electric Car Makes
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The NHTSA Wants to Let You Choose What Fake Sound Your Electric Car Makes
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The NHTSA Wants to Let You Choose What Fake Sound Your Electric Car Makes

Trending News: You Could Soon Choose the Fake Sound Your EV Makes

You might have thought the serenity was almost upon you with the impending mass adoption of electric cars. No more petrol-head neighbors gunning the throttle at 6 a.m. before sideways drifting to their day jobs.

RELATED: The 2020 Porsche Taycan Is Flashy, Fast and Fully Electric

Only you’d have thought wrong. The United States federal government is requiring carmakers to include artificial motor sounds in electric and hybrid cars to help alert pedestrians of their presence. Still, the requirement only kicks in at low speeds, and makes perfect sense from a public safety perspective. Perhaps what doesn’t make so much sense is a new proposal announced yesterday that would let drivers select the sound their car makes. 

What sound would you choose?


The rules requiring EVs and hybrid vehicles to emit sounds at low speeds (less than 19 mph) were finalised in February of last year with the intention of preventing injury to pedestrians and in particular people with a visual impairment. As it stands, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given carmakers until 2020 to make their vehicles compliant (vehicles in the EU have until 2021). Easy. 

Except now the NHTSA has released a new notice of proposed rule-making that wants to remove the limit on the number of compliant sounds a manufacturer can install in a vehicle. Drivers would then “be able to select the sound they prefer from the set of sounds installed in the vehicle.” In short, somebody cue up “You Saw My Blinker.” 

Thankfully, the NHTSA is also seeking feedback on whether it should limit the number of fake sounds a manufacturer can install. Answer: yes, probably.


In the meantime, many carmakers have already selected the sounds for their EVs and hybrids, The Verge reports. Mercedes Benz has equipped its electric EQC with an artificial humming sound, and has collaborated with Linkin Park — yes, that Linkin Park — to develop a chunkier sound for its AMG models. Wild. 

Volkswagen, meanwhile, is reportedly equipping its new ID.3 with a fake sound for low speeds.

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