• Sep 7th 2010 at 6:56PM
  • 18
ECTunes equipped vehicle – Click above to watch video after the jump

The issue of whether or not noise should be added to electric vehicles (EVs) always seems to elicit a heated discussion. On one side of the argument, blind advocacy groups push for added noises because they believe that without an alert system, near-silent EVs present an added risk. On the flip side, there's a slew of advocates who firmly believe that adding sound to EVs creates unnecessary noise pollution. The arguments from both sides aren't likely to die down, but ECTunes, a small company based in Horsens, Denmark, believes it has developed a solution that could please those who demand noiseless cars, while also satisfying safety concerns.

ECTunes is developing a system that utilizes directional sound equipment to emit noise when and where it's needed. According to the company, its technology sends audible signals only in the direction of travel, thus allowing the vehicle to be heard by those who may be in the cars path, without disturbing others with unwelcome noise. Energi Horsens, a Danish firm, strongly believes in the directional sound system and has provided a significant investment to help ECTunes fully develop its technology. Ulrik Kragh, chairman of the board at Energi Horsens, issued this statement, which outlines the advantages of the ECTunes system:
With this technology, the positive and relaxing advantages of noiseless cars are sustained while the challenges of the silence are being met. This is the solution to the potential dangerous situations caused by noiseless cars and we see an even greater need for this solution as more and more electric and hybrid vehicles are entering the roads.
We could go into great detail about the benefits of the directional sound system developed by ECTunes, but hearing it in use will prove much more beneficial. On that note, we encourage you to hit the jump to experience the sounds of the ECTunes system.

[Source: PluginCars]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have any of these goodie two shoes thought about the poor driver? Especially one with normal hearing (aka not deaf)?

      The driver of a car equipped with this or any other noise making system will ALWAYS be 4 feet away from the sound source. The driver will have to listen to the sound for several minutes while driving along narrow side streets where the speed limit is 25 MPH or less. Not just the 15 seconds it takes to pass by someone on the sidewalk.

      What about my hearing! What about my sanity! Who do I sue when my hearing is damaged by a so called safety device?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree completely. Even that ass-kicking part.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Right... our collective sanity is no small issue! I think a dual horn system would be sufficient. Hit the little button as a gentle reminder. Hit the big button for those dangerous situations. Hit the wrong button in a parking lot and get your ass kicked. Everything has consequences...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This does nothing to address my concern over noiseless EVs:

      I'm a cyclist. If some idiot pedestrian avoids being run down by an EV because the latter is making noise, then said idiot will only be MORE sure of his belief that all dangerous things make noise. That puts me at greater risk. And every cyclist who is hurt by an idiot pedestrian discourages cycling.

      Save the world by keeping EVs silent!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The proper answer to "Blind people need a way to know that a silent electric car is approaching!" is to equip the canes of blind people, or other assistive devices, with electronic transponders that would alert (audibly or with a vibration) when an electric vehicle is nearby.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, quiet cars have to be made noisier because some people aren't paying attention?

      Am I supposed to have some sort of constant noise device attached to my bicycle too?

      (Insert eye-rolling emoticon here)
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think we all should be happy that electric cars reduce noise pollution and are environmentally friendly and I really don't understand why they should add a noise system! I think the more electric cars are on the road, the more people get used to it and to the fact that they have to remind looking around before crossing a street.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So 99.8% of the population has to continue to deal with noise pollution so that 0.2% of the blind population don't have to adapt? Completely makes sense... perhaps next we can ensure all sidewalks are covered so that the albino population isn't harmed by the sun.

      I wear ear plugs to protect my hearing when riding my motorcycle, and have been 15 years accident free. For the average person, simply watching where you are going is more than enough, and for the blind, yes it is a disability and it sucks, but its not reasonable to force the entire world to adapt to your special needs.

      And for those of you who think "well, I'll just disable the annoying noise", you have to realize you are opening yourself up for our courts to ram you a new one for "disabling a safety device".
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a cyclist. I ride in traffic almost every day. I like the idea of noisemakers for silent cars.

      I suspect that most drivers think that cyclists can hear them approaching, but it is not always true, even with non-electric cars. If the cyclist is moving quickly, wind noise in his ears can mask the cars' sounds.

      It might seem that a bicycle rear view mirror would permit a cyclist to monitor approaching traffic, but few cyclists use mirrors. I wondered why until I tried the available mirror products. I experimented with handlebar mounted mirrors, helmet mounted mirrors, and even a tiny eyeglass mounted mirror, and found that they all were dangerous, unreliable, ineffective, or incompatible with my other bike equipment. I concluded that at least for me, bike rear view mirrors simply do not work.

      Turning around in my bike seat to face backwards does not work well either. It is not easy to turn far enough to get a clear view. I have to rely on quickly noticing motion at the edge of my field of vision. That is better than nothing, but not very good, and I don't like taking my eyes off the road directly in front of me for more than a fraction of a second.

      In the end I rely primarily on hearing the noise of a car to know that it is coming up behind me. If I don't hear any noise, I will be tempted to assume there is no car. If necessary I will modify my riding to minimize the risks from silent cars, but silent cars will always be more dangerous to me than cars I can hear.

      Is the solution for cyclists to always ride as far to the right as possible, as though there was always an approaching car? It is a nice sounding idea that does not work in practice. Cyclists have to do a certain amount of weaving to maintain balance, and they often must avoid road debris and potholes. A 2" rock or a small pothole won't affect a car much, but either can knock a cyclist off his bike. Street sweepers often move road debris from the center of the road to the edge, directly into the cyclist's path. If a cyclist if traveling slowly and he hears no oncoming traffic, it is (for now) safe to swerve momentarily into the traffic lane to avoid whatever needs avoiding. With silent cars on the road, the same move could be fatal.

      Silent cars are not just threats to a few blind pedestrians.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is such a stupid non issue. But anything that will resolve it such that the issue doesn't waste my time anymore gets my approval.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be more fair if we all just gouged out our own eyes? This way we would all be "even". And really, why should any one human being be allowed to be more advantaged than any other? The goal of civil society is to make sure we are all equal, in every way imaginable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i dont like it, its better, but i still dont like it. the idea of driving a quiet silent automobile, was delicious at inception, now ? idk. i mean its good, and its bad, Theres got to be a better solution, so far these sounds dont do nothing for me, and the idea of not hearing traffic outside my window as cars became more and more silent, was genius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every electric car should be equiped with a wireless transmitter and whoever is concerned about his safety should buy a wristband that picks up this signal.
      Until then: "Get-a-life!"
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