QOTD: What Sound Should Hybrids And EVs Make Below 18 MPH?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
qotd what sound should hybrids and evs make below 18 mph

NHTSA is proposing to make it mandatory that hybrid cars and EVs have the ability to emit a sound when traveling below 18 mph on electric power, as a means of warning pedestrians and cyclists. The system is said to add about $30 to the cost of each vehicle, and will no doubt tie up bureaucrats for months as they debate just what kind of tone will best protect the public from the horror of low-speed injuries. So why don’t we make life easier for them and decide ourselves?

I”m going to nominate the weird burping noise made by a koala as my own favorite; koalas, like hybrids and EVs, are slow and non-threatening, but few know that the koala actually makes a strange, low bellowing noise.

Compare that to the higher-pitched chirp or the low humming seen on cars like the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius. It’s a bit more masculine and menacing, isn’t it? Yet at the same time, it won’t really give anyone a fright like it would if you used a sound clip from a Norwegian death metal concert.

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4 of 121 comments
  • Sky_Render Sky_Render on Jan 09, 2013

    It should sound like a TIE fighter.

  • Willyam Willyam on Jan 09, 2013

    OMG these are fanTAStic! The tie-fighter, crazy-frog, awesome. How about the "Hel-loooooo" from George Takei?

  • CorLex300 CorLex300 on Jan 09, 2013

    The familair drone of a crappy wheezing four cylinder engine.

  • Stupid But Tough Stupid But Tough on Jan 10, 2013

    Here's the next logical question: What if a car company built a very quiet gasoline car, like an 80's era V8 Cadillac, would it have to make the sound also? should there be a minimum sound requirement for all cars. And while we're on the subject, those damn bicycles are too quiet, they should be required to put playing cards in their spokes, and people walking should be required to wear squeaky shoes, bells around cats necks, tin cans tied to dogs tails... Or you could just watch where you're going