Electric cars have a problem: They're too perfect. Not only are they better for the environment and cheaper to run and maintain, they are also quiet -- really, really quiet. And therein lies the rub. According to the focus of some recent laws, being nearly silent makes electric cars a threat to other road users, especially pedestrians. The thinking is that what you can't hear can kill you. According to some reports, electric cars are approximately 40 percent more likely to be involved in an accident involving a pedestrian. Both the United States and Europe have taken notice and have begun imposing new regulations that require electric car makers to install devices to make artificial noise when the car is in use. The noise, created by Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems, isn't uniform, but generally needs to sound similar to a standard combustion engine vehicle. Nor will the sound be constant. In Europe, the cars will need to produce the artificial sounds only at speeds under 12 mph (19.3 km/h), or when reversing, while in America, they'll need to make noise until they reach the slightly faster pace of 18.6 mph (30 km/h).
Some electrifying information:
- Scottish inventor Robert Anderson designed a crude prototype for an electric car in 1832; it was powered by a single charge.
- In the United States, plug-in electric car sales climbed from 17,800 in 2011 to 361,307 in 2018.
- Some countries are looking to go all-electric when it comes to cars: Norway has set 2025 as its goal, while India is hoping to do the same by 2030.