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.