editor's blog logomoving carI really sympathize with worries being expressed by advocates for the blind, by bicycling advocates, etc. that EVs’ quiet ride might be dangerous.

But can’t we come up with a better solution than replicating exactly the same excessive noise of gas-powered cars?

As I noted in a previous entry, that’s the direction Harman Kardon and Lotus — which have partnered to develop a system that projects recorded noises inside and outside of EVs — are driving us in.

I sure hope that adding exactly the same noise pollution we already suffer from and which has been proven to contribute to physiological stress in human beings doesn’t turn out to be the only solution. (For a straightforward and accessible definition of noise pollution, go to Wikipedia.org’s entry on the subject.)

And what’s with the completely one-sided reporting and commentary on this issue I’ve seen so far in sources like gas2.org and the UK Guardian, whose stories do not at all consider some of the negative sides of traffic noise?

Call me an elitist if you want, but it seems to me that we can come up with something better to address potential safety issues with quieter cars than enveloping ourselves in exactly the same noise pollution we have right now.

Actually, I know.

First, we’ve become so innured to noise pollution we don’t notice it anymore, though, biologically speaking, our bodies do notice it, whether we acknowledge this or not.

Second, the dominant view automatically dismisses any critical observations about human produced noise and noise pollution as ‘elitist’.

Call me an elitist if you want, but it seems to me that we can come up with something better to address potential safety issues with quieter cars than enveloping ourselves in exactly the same noise pollution we have right now. 

In fact, I know we can come up with something better — sophisticated electronic warning systems for drivers, electronic radar devices for bikes, blind pedestrians, etc.

But I’m pessimistic that’s the direction we’ll end up going in.

What’s next? Laws that require me to add a Harman Kardon-Lotus-like VROOOM to my EV?

P.S. — If you’re curious about what’s potentially in store for EVs, check out this video on the UK Guardian’s web site: The HALOsonic electric car sound system

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