It may sound stupid but it really is a good point.
Electric cars are relatively quiet compared to Gasoline, Diesel & Other types of vehicles that burn fuels to provide momentum and while there is tire noise this is not enough for many people to audibly hear over other noise around them to hear, especially if the vehicle is creeping up behind them and can come as a fright when they turn round it is sitting behind like a scene out of a Stephen King horror.
Sure saying they must go “Broom Broom” like a car engine is a little over simplifying it and all the US Regulators are asking is that they make an audible noise. I’m sure that the noise they really would be looking for is the sound of an engine idling or running at a low speed just so that people know that it is a vehicle behind them.
Should this be for all electric vehicles or maybe just driverless vehicles?
It makes me wonder whether this should be purely for driverless vehicles but I’m sure that the issue of creeping electric vehicles is more likely to be caused by all electric vehicles driven by humans. They wouldn’t, I’m almost totally convinced, be unlikely to go right up behind someone dawdling in a combined foot and vehicle access road and creep right behind them to intimidate the person into giving way and in a noisy environment it can be far harder to hear a vehicle coming up behind you.
Of course, some people will still complain they didn’t hear a vehicle
True that electric vehicles making an audible noise to notify people that are in front or contemplating crossing a roadway or driveway will help in some cases but I’ve had people claim that they didn’t hear my V8 gasoline powered truck that is relatively noisy as I crawled down a combined exit road while they wandered down the center of the access roadway. They were not wearing earphones or listening to music they just felt they didn’t need to listen.
The gist of the matter is that some people switch off to noise around them. I’ve worked in many locations that are noisy and you quickly switch off to the noise. I used to operate a robotic press and would be so switched off to anything around me because of the noise that the machine made obliterated other noise. More than once someone would be standing right behind me and I would be oblivious. Funnily enough when they started enforcing the use of hearing protection we became more aware of everything around because we couldn’t hear anything and maybe, just maybe, one day when all vehicles are all-electric we will become seriously aware of all the noiseless vehicles but until then I think that even hybrids should have audible noise when only electric energy is used to move the vehicle and the vehicle’s noise should reflect the speed of the vehicle both in tone and volume.