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Electric Cars Are About to Get Louder

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Aug. 10, 2020—According to Discover magazine, there is a federal law going into effect this September that requires notoriously quiet electric vehicles to emit a low, yet detectable sound. The artificial sound is meant to alert pedestrians and cyclists who often rely on subtle street noises to detect approaching vehicles. 

At speeds of 18.6 miles per hour, cars emit a sound of their own. Whether they are gasoline or electric, around that speed noise is generated from the tires as well as wind resistance. But the new federal regulation will require electric vehicles to be heard up to that limit. 

The sounds should be in keeping with acceleration and deceleration and must reach 40 decibels, even when standstill. 

Many automakers are thinking outside the box when it comes to meeting this regulation. Lincoln hired musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra who created alerts for its latest SUV. Meanwhile, BMW sought out Hans Zimmer to compose sounds for its Vision M Next model. 


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