California Senate Approves Bill To Add Noise To Hybrids
|By Michael d'Estries in Green Politics, Hybrids, Transportation | August 22, 2008|
Remember all that talk about hybrds and electric vehicles being too quiet? Well it appears that all that petitioning from groups like the Federation of the Blind has turned into some heavy legislation coming out of California.
Earlier this week, the Senate in California approved a bill requiring all hybrids and electric vehicles to have a minimum sound level. That bill will now grace the desk of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — but it’s not clear what side of the issue he’ll fall on.
As Autobloggreen points out, there are already some options in the works for addressing this issue. For instance, automaker Lotus has been demoing its Safe and Sound system on a Toyota Prius. Instead of using internal speakers to generate opposite sound waves to cancel noise, Lotus is mounting speakers externally with a controller tied to the accelerator pedal. (Imagine the hacks that will come out of that one!) The system generates simulated engine sounds that will allow people in the vicinity hear the car approach.
Now, as we’ve discovered in comments, adding sound to quiet vehicles is a charged topic. On one hand, many of us are in agreement that the world could use less vehicular noise filling up our ears. Even in some of the most beautiful wild spots around my town, it’s still possible to hear the drone of cars and trucks many miles away. Still, for those that have vision impairments, some type of warning may be necessary.
Should be interesting to see which way the Governor sides on this topic. Either way, don’t count on your future car being whisper-quiet.