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New Model S to make noise so pedestrians hear the car similar to a ICE car?

Mknac

Member
Jul 10, 2016
282
113
Florida
I read some time ago that silent running EVs were being blamed for accidents because people didn't hear them.

I heard that the new updated front end has a outward facing speaker so people can hear the car coming.

Can anybody confirm this? If so will it increase cabin noise?
 

Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,654
8,944
Palmdale, CA
pedestrian horn?

A quieter version of the normal horn that is activated with a separate button. Used to notify slow moving pedestrians wandering in the middle of parking lots that you are behind them without using the full volume of your regular horn.

Best thing about it is you chose when to use it. Unlike a always on noisemaker.
 

BertL

Active Member
Aug 19, 2015
2,018
1,580
Carlsbad, CA
FWIW my former 2013 Lexus RX450h (hybrid) produced a sound for this purpose when it was running on battery only at low speed. It could not be turned off via user control, was really only noticeable in the cabin if the windows were down and I was backing-up or pulling into a spot on battery only. The space-ship like sound was not hyped in the original marketing Lexus RXh marketing materials. I had one of the first 2013 RXh's delivered in the US, and it was news on the Lexus forum once I found the sound and we connected the dots, as it was to my dealership when I showed it to them after delivery. IIRC, Toyota put the sound in Prius, as well as some other mfgrs in their vehicles back in 2011/12 because of an in-progress NHTSA ruling that would have mandated it as early as 2014.

More information on this can be found in Electric vehicle warning sounds - Wikipedia including various country regulations, what makes and models already have it, and reference to the delayed NHTSA regulation voting that would in theory make this mandatory 3 years later if/when confirmed.

Me? In my research before ordering my MS, I found it odd Tesla didn't implement it at the outset given so many others had before and the probability a safety regulation like this would be passed one day. Since I lived with this little "oddity" for years in my former Lexus daily driver, didn't find it annoying, and even with some questioning if the sound prevents accidents or saves lives, I'm all for having it mandated if it helps prevents just one accident or death somewhere. See the above link or the NTHSA site for stats where NTHSA suggests 2,800 pedestrian (distracted, sight-impaired, etc) and cyclist injuries could be prevented during the life of each electric and hybrid vehicle MY if a low-speed warning sound were in place.
 

amallah

Member
Apr 14, 2014
63
42
Monkton, MD
There was a rumor in May that the new facelift would bring a newer AP camera and a "Pedestrian Noise Unit". The facelift came, but doesn't seem to have either of those things. It may be in the works for later.
 

BertL

Active Member
Aug 19, 2015
2,018
1,580
Carlsbad, CA
I appreciate some are joking with snide remarks as is pretty normal around here; we can all have our own opinions; and we should all drive defensively. Got it. Despite this, I would hope folks do consider that there remain cyclists, as well as distracted and impaired vision pedestrians that MAY still benefit from a non-silent slow-moving hybrid/BEV that does have this weird space-ship sound. E.g:
  • Why do some more recently installed crosswalks have a slight sound to them when the light is green for a pedestrian to cross, whereas old ones don't? Have you ever observed a seeing-impaired person trying to cross a street? IMHO, it has to be challenging enough as it is to know when it's safe to cross using only sounds and perhaps a guide dog, let alone as the future becomes reality and most vehicles become silent as they sit at an intersection or slowly begin to cross or turn near where that seeing-impaired individual may be.
  • As a driver, have you ever slowly crept up behind or just to the left of a cyclist in their bicycle lane, when you are trying to make a right? I have. Cyclists already have to ride very defensively. As an X-cyclist myself many years ago, I consider a weird sound from an otherwise silent EV as something that perhaps would have proactively given me a clue something was coming up from my rear... If I was the cyclist, sure, I should still be observant, but the sound is just one more thing to help possibly protect me.
  • I had at least 2 situations I can remember in 3 years driving my 2013 Lexus hybrid where my "weird sound" jarred a distracted pedestrian awake from playing with their smartphone before they walked behind my backing-up Lexus in a parking lot. Sure, I (fortunately) saw them and stopped, but the weird sound that initiated as I started to backup likely got to them first -- no different than most ICE would likely have done.
I too had the "I don't like it. I drive safely. So I'll poo-poo the need for it on MY vehicle" attitude when I first heard about this "weird sound" being considered by the NHTSA, as I really loved my hybrid stealth mode I had known since 2006. What changed my opinion is when I took the time to scan part of the 2009 NHTSA Study on this a few years back (referenced in post #9 above). Even if only part of the suggested findings are true, I came to the conclusion this future safety item is not about the desire of the driver or hybrid/EV owner, it's all about the safety of other people because of how quiet non-ICE can be. It's perhaps my age, but I will take the possible protection of someone else by having the "weird sound" on my BEV, over my personal loss of silent stealth mode any day.
 

Mknac

Member
Jul 10, 2016
282
113
Florida
Yes, lots of shots at me for this post. But I had read several articles about the issue on some of my feeds the last couple years and was just curious if there had been any movement on the issue. I had a Ford Fusion Hybrid and it was silent when running on the battery and pedestrians did not hear the car. It was a safety issue. As a cyclist my self when I ride I never use ear phones and play music. Sound is an import element to make me aware of what is happening around me.
 

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