Articles about the quietest cars and SUVs are among the most popular of readers of iSeeCars’ blog. However, is there such thing as a car that’s too quiet? Regulators and some automakers are saying yes. When a car is too quiet it can become a safety concern for pedestrians, bicyclists and the blind and visually impaired.
At low speeds of under 20 mph, electric vehicles (EV) make little to no noise. The Washington Post reports Daimler, Nissan and Renault have each added sound to some of their EVs. The Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe hatchback, Daimler e-Smart city car and Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive all come with artificial noise. The noise varies per car, with the Mercedes offering a tone designed to demonstrate power (it is a $569,600 vehicle, after all). Renault offers artificial noise options in pure, glam or sport, while the e-Smart city car has a sound that is pitched slightly higher than regular engines.
The concept of adding sound is for both style and safety. Automakers are looking to add a new edge to EVs with sound, while keeping in mind many regulators are looking to mandate warning noises in the near future.
BMW and VW have decided to hold off on adding artificial noise on all EVs, with plans to add it only in areas where it becomes mandatory.