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Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for high-res image gallery

As we getting closer to seeing significant numbers of electric vehicles on the market, various standards are starting to emerge that cover things like how the vehicles are to be charged and how to measure range and equivalent mileage. One feature that remains up in the air is the sound signature of electric vehicles. For years, EV advocates have touted the silent operation of battery-powered vehicles as a bonus.

However, advocates for the blind and safety regulators are pushing for electric vehicles to produce some audible alert indicating their presence (see here). According to Just-Auto, beginning next week, Nissan will be bringing in 500 people – including media, government officials and customers – who have signed up to buy the Leaf to drive the car at its Oppama, Japan test track. Among other things, they will be evaluating the "approaching vehicle sound" that will be used for the Leaf and Fuga (Infiniti M37) hybrid. Nissan is testing a system that produces external sounds that sweep across a range of frequencies to insure that almost anyone can hear it. The sound will also vary depending on whether the car is accelerating or decelerating.



[Source: Just-Auto]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The more I think about this, the more I'm concerned this will kill mass-adoption of EV's. I believe it's imperitave we lobby our congressmen & senators to strip any noise-maker provisions out of the 2010 Federal Motor Safety Act (which is still being put together).

      We still have a good chance to stop this thing. I strongly urge all of you to write your district congress rep and your state senators. If you live in a liberal state, tell them how this bill is sponsored by the most polluting automobile manufacturers (and by extension Big Oil) to kill adoption of electric cars at the very moment when we have a Gulf of Mexico filled with oil. If your congress & senate reps are Republicans, appeal to their hatred of the nanny state and catering to a tiny minority of the population at the expense of everyone else.

      You know any given law is horrible when it's strongly opposed by people on both the far right and the far left...

      Get your Congress representative's contact info here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

      Get your Senators' contact info here:
      http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
      • 4 Years Ago
      This UK test drive of the pre-production model compares the noise to "a muted jet engine whirr". Cuts out after 15 mph

      http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Drives/Search-Results/First-drives/Nissan-Leaf-2010-CAR-review/?content-block=0
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good to hear it cuts out at 15mph. I'm still curious to what a traffic jam (sub 15mph) of these things would sound like. How about a metered on ramp, with 50 cars backed up on it? Ugh.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I will cut that wire so fast your head will spin.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is the first time I have seen the acceleration times:
        '0-60mph in 11.5 seconds is similar to a mainstream petrol Focus'

        Not a drag-racer, but good enough, and 0-30 would be comparatively even better.

        I'd like to see the noise issue for EVs being the start of the development of 'smart canes' for the blind, so that the car communicates by noise or likely by vibration with pedestrians, showing the location and direction of on-coming cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nrb

        Probably like an airport...lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        "a muted jet engine whirr" is lame. I was hoping for downloadable ring tones. Maybe get some K$sha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3rY7Dl-XV0 blasting out my car so that everyone will have to look at me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKMLZXA8LJY

        /sarcasm

        Be thankful, it could have been much worst!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car looks gorgeous - a lot nicer than the Prius which I always thought was quite ugly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous, a solution in search of a problem. Either they mandate it for all cars or none. If it was mandated for all cars, the manufacturers would fight this idiocy.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yO5msMEGZI

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZK74nUJl48
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is lame!, This is pony...
      this is like an episode of family guy, it's like the Da vinci code (the book and movie), it's like Milton keynes, like weak beer, like England losing to the u.s.a in the world cup

      pass me the wire cutters..."oh it invalidates the warranty you say?"
      "hey my electrician friend hot wire this for me would you?"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Trucks have reversing sounds. So should cars.
      I am fed up with trying to reverse out of car parking spaces in supermarkets with pedestrians and their attendant children showing all the road sense of cattle when visibility is difficult.
      clipsinite
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't allow the car to run silent. You're just asking drug dealers and gangs to purchase your car for logistics.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The system is controlled through a computer and synthesizer in the dash panel, and the sound is delivered through a speaker in the engine compartment. (Fortunately) a switch inside the vehicle can turn off sounds temporarily. The system automatically resets to “On” at the next ignition cycle.

      http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/06/11/nissan-leaf-sound-revealed/
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...and bumper to bumper stop-and-go traffic...

      Legislated noise pollution.
      Perfect.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It sounds jet engine like. We could get a group of blue LEAFs together and have kind of a Blue Angels drill team on the parking lot.

      The frequency is in a bad range. It sounds like the feedback that my daughter gets on her hearing aids. I can see driving around and having her constantly checking to see what is wrong with her hearing aids.
      Hojhee
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought Infiniti was coming out with a M-35 Hybrid. I don't think it's a M-37.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Hojhee
        If it comes with this alert sound they might want to call it a MiG-37
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