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Why Do Electric Vehicles Need to Make Sound?

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

The reduced sound of the electric vehicles has been considered by some owners as a key benefit of driving an electric vehicle, while others say they miss the sound of internal combustion engine vehicles. Countless scientific studies have proven zero-emission cars are benefits for the environment and reduction in sound is also a blessing as it reduced the noise pollution. But it has also found that the pedestrian walkers find the sound of engine or exhaust sounds can be an early notification of an approaching vehicle.

Sound Phantom Corp. is a Winston-Salem based green-tech startup focused on changing the way people experience electric and hybrid vehicles. This small startup is engineering electric and hybrid vehicle safety applications to generate internal and external sounds as a way to alert pedestrians as well as enhance the way drivers experience EVs. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that hybrid and EVs are 37 percent more likely to cause accidents involving pedestrians. When it comes to cyclists, that statistic jumps to 57 percent!

By taking this threat into account, in 2010 Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act was passed by Congress. Only a few Americans paid attention to this law due to which it took almost 10 years for its implementation. According to this law every electric and hybrid vehicle which would be manufactured after 2020 must be having a pedestrian warning system to be sold in America. In speaking with Sound Phantom Corp. Founder, Kevin Stormer he says, “It is the sounds of vehicles we have grown up with and learned to use to raise our awareness as we move about during our day. These familiar sounds subconsciously connect us to our ecosystems and change the way we experience the automobile. ”

Sounds provide a protective web that often prevents pedestrians from being involved in an accident while crossing at an intersection, jogging, or sharing the road as a cyclist. As EVs become a larger percentage of vehicles on the road it is important to understand how we will share the road and use sound as a way to determine the direction of a vehicle or gage speed—whether it’s increasing or decreasing.

Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) is one of the required feature of all the electric vehicles in number of countries. It is used to create the sound for the silent cars and in this way road safety is improved. It warms the non-drivers like cyclist, children, and pedestrian walkers. These sounds can be generated through the artificial means like the velocity, gas pedal position and gear. Similarly, it is necessary for all EVs to create a reversing sound like traditional vehicles. During Sound Phantom’s research and development of their initial product offering, Harken™ synthetic exhaust system, they learned pedestrians are often distracted by mobile phones, ear pods, or countless other activities that can be a contributor for a pedestrian involved collision. Sound Phantom’s Founder, Kevin Stormer believes their Harken™ systems emitting external sounds could be a lifesaver for pedestrians.

When we asked Kevin why he founded Sound Phantom he said, “Just like horsepower, headers, and carburetor manufacturers moved the muscle care error in the 60s and 70s, we want to do our part in supporting the automotive industry as it transitions to zero emission vehicles. There is no doubt in our minds that sound will play a key role in converting ICE vehicle owners/drivers to electric vehicles.”

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