Parp! Parp! Sound of silence too dangerous for electric cars, EU investigates alternatives

What sound would YOU add to your electric car?

by nick_rearden   May 21, 2010  

Nissan Leaf electric car.jpg

In the build up to the imminent launch of the Nissan Leaf, the world's first big-production all-electric car - and being built in Tyne and Wear, too - the EU is investigating whether artificial noises should be added to these 'near silent' electric cars to reduce risks to cyclists and pedestrians.

According to an article in The Times, manufacturers are already testing noises that could be added to electric and hybrid cars, with white noise, computer noise and the Star Wars theme tune some sounds already considered.

Warwick University is working with car manufacturers in the West Midlands, assessing various sounds by projecting them from a test vehicle and assessing the response of pedestrians.

Professor Paul Jennings told the paper: "We will have a week with music and weeks with natural sounds, engine noise and also with science-fiction sounds.

"We need to find noises which alert people to the approaching vehicle without causing the annoyance people already feel when they hear the bleeping sounds of reversing trucks."

The industry believes that artificial sounds would only be necessary below 20mph because faster vehicles create enough tyre noise to be heard.

Here at road.cc we think that adding artificial sounds to 'near silent' electric cars is only one step away from forcing cyclists to ride along continuously ringing their bells which might only be a logical step bearing in mind how pedestrians are prone to lurch into the road without looking.

Far better, we think, to enjoy the peace and quiet of 'silent' cars and train people to look before they cross the road.

However, common sense never carried much weight with EU directives, as far as we can see. If we have to have added sounds, what do road.cc users think would be great ones to add to electric cars?

Our bid is for Noddy's car's little 'weep weep weep'  What does everyone else think.

 

24 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I'm showing my age here, but anyone remember the chuffy chuffy noise that Ivor the Engine used to make?

posted by falls offlots [83 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:30

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I think they should be completely silent. That way pedestrians will get used to using their eyes instead of relying on their ears, and will be less likely to step out in front of cyclists.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:40

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Whilst I heartily agree that for most of us silent cars would be great, how would my blind uncle cross the road? He, unfortunately, has no choice but to rely on his ears.

posted by andrewhayward [36 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:49

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Blimey cat1 you're from the "can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs" school of road safety education then!

Cyclists wouldn't be able to hear them either I'd guess

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4131 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:50

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andrewhayward - they still make road noise and wind noise, so not much different to current small quiet cars.

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posted by STATO [409 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:53

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There are a few Prius (Priuses?) near my house and a few times now ive had them pass me and quite politely too, must be somthing about eco-types that make them more considerate to cyclists? Anyway, no you cant easilly hear them if they are only on electric drive, but then you cant hear them on petrol drive either unless they are revving it to get past you quickly, much the same as other small cars really.

Its not any different to a very windy day where you cant hear anything other than wind noise anyway (be it walking or riding), apart from BMW's, Audi's and Transit vans obviously ;0)

Or for that matter walking with headphones in... im getting carried away a bit but you see the point.

Muppets.

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posted by STATO [409 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:54

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andrewhayward - it would be interesting to know what your uncle thinks about this. The only blind person I know is so hyper concious of sound that I'm sure she would be able to hear an approaching 'silent' electric car probably down to 10mph - I'll ask her. In town here, I've seen a blind person that has a great routine. He holds up his white stick at the side of the road, looking very much like a blind man with a guide dog that's about to step out. The dog looks up and down the road and when satisfied that the traffic is stopped, he walks. Never seen it done without everyone smiling and shaking their heads slowly, "Now that is cool."

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:09

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Quote:
Prius (Priuses?)

Prii?

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7234 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:16

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falls offlots wrote:
I'm showing my age here, but anyone remember the chuffy chuffy noise that Ivor the Engine used to make?

I've added Ivor the Engine after Noddy. I think you're right, Ivor is edging it. The episode with Idris the dragon was my personal favourite

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:18

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dave_atkinson wrote:
Quote:
Prius (Priuses?)

Prii?

Nope, you're all wrong as the correct spelling is "PIOUS"

(Have I ranted about the one on the M62 with the three bike Thule rack recently? )

Why not add the Benny Hill music?

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posted by DaveP [467 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:27

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tony_farrelly wrote:
Blimey cat1 you're from the "can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs" school of road safety education then!

Cyclists wouldn't be able to hear them either I'd guess

Hadn't thought of that, or the blind uncle argument either. I guess I just have a utopian vision where our cities are quiet and free of pollution, with traffic gliding noiselessly down busy urban roads lined by houses where people can sleep with their windows open in summer.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:27

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They should make the same roaring generator noise that coal-powered power stations make, seeing as that's where most of the electric they use will be coming from (and where the CO2 they are responsible for will be emitted into the atmosphere.)

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:31

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Nick Rearden wrote:
The episode with Idris the dragon was my personal favourite

My childhood was a long time ago... But, did't Idris end up as the heat source for Ivor? Thinking

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posted by DaveP [467 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:31

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DaveP wrote:
Nick Rearden wrote:
The episode with Idris the dragon was my personal favourite

My childhood was a long time ago... But, did't Idris end up as the heat source for Ivor? Thinking

I believe that more than one episode featured the dragon. In one Ivor's firebox is used to incubate dragon eggs.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:34

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Just have speakers in there and you can download any engine sound you like, Maserati, Ferrari V10, Aston Martin, Ford Fiesta.

posted by Chrisc [138 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:34

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DaveP wrote:
Nick Rearden wrote:
The episode with Idris the dragon was my personal favourite

My childhood was a long time ago... But, did't Idris end up as the heat source for Ivor? Thinking

You're right; there was a coal crisis but rather like the question of the power station that provides the electricity to drive your Nissan Leaf, it makes you wonder where dragons get their fire from.

19k to go in the Giro. Greg Henderson for the stage?

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:39

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There's a poll now

http://road.cc/content/poll/17741-eu-investigate-adding-noises-electric-...

Unfortunately, Ivor didn't make it. Something about an unhappy 'Uncle Bryn'-type experience in childhood. Don't.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
21st May 2010 - 17:16

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Ivor could make it in, we're encouraging write in votes

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4131 posts]
21st May 2010 - 17:21

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i like the car sounds in Bee Movie, kin of like bubbling water... or the sound of a wind turbine?

"Inside every car is a pedestrian, just Waiting to get out..." S.J.L.

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posted by scotter [64 posts]
21st May 2010 - 20:59

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This, on a constant loop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_v468ptuXw

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

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posted by John_the_Monkey [417 posts]
21st May 2010 - 21:56

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There is a Japanese study on the high number of accidents in urban areas involving Prii/Priuses (whatever) and other hybrids. They are involved in a higher number of pedestrian accidents apparently. The study suggested fitting noise generators.

Not all Prius drivers are considerate. I took a Prius taxi in Bologna year before last - the driver was a stereotypical Italian pinning the accelerator to the floor.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2114 posts]
21st May 2010 - 23:39

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Can't we make it mandatory that they all sound like Tour team cars? I would *love* to be followed home by this: http://www.wolo-mfg.com/410t.au

posted by msw [125 posts]
26th May 2010 - 19:40

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Nowadays, different car companies are making new and trendy cars. Most of these are those that do not require much gas and doesn't pollute the planet unlike the others. The Chevy Volt is one of General Motors' most envisioned new types. The automobile is a plug-in hybrid, thought to deliver fuel efficiency far above the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. However, you will find troubling reports that dealerships might end up charging far above what they should for the automobile. I read this here: Chevy Volt

A dealership told Edmunds that could be charging far above retail. We need not rush ourselves with purchasing it the moment it is released. We all can wait for the time the price is lowered, and by that time demand will increase.

posted by marshallM [1 posts]
25th August 2010 - 9:37

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Well the obvious noise would be Jeremy Clarkson shouting "Out of the way plebs, I am far more important than you!"

posted by Kim [126 posts]
17th May 2011 - 13:50

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