One of the defining features of Electric cars has been their near silence when operating, but they won’t lead to the noise-free cities many had hoped for. In the United States at least, all electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be required by law to make some kind of noise.
Passed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the law goes into effect in September of 2019 and is predicted to help prevent 2,400 pedestrian injuries annually.
Although the NHTSA didn’t specify the kind of noise electrified cars have to make, it pointed out that they must be clearly heard whether moving forward or in reverse. NHTSA administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind stated:
“This is a common-sense tool to help pedestrians — especially folks who are blind or have low vision — make their way safely.”
Interestingly, battery-powered cars will only need to make noise at speeds of up to 19 mph (31 km/h) because, as the organization explains, making noise above that speed isn’t necessary due to such factors as tire and wind noise alerting pedestrians of an oncoming vehicle.
The law also only applies to vehicles with four wheels, meaning two-wheelers like electric Vespas and motormikes will be allowed to operate in total silence.
Subaru Getting Plugin Hybrid With Toyota Prius Prime Parts
Not impervious to the electrification of the automotive industry. Subaru will introduce a new plug-in hybrid model that will borrow parts from the Toyota Prius Prime. Subaru is partially tied to Toyota, so tapping into the auto giant’s hybrid know-how is a no-brainier.
The small but growing Japanese automaker hasn’t announced which model(s) will get the plug-in hybrid powertrain, but it’s expected that either the Crosstrek or Forester will be the recipient. If the Crosstrek , it will be the second time that the model will be offered with a hybrid variant, even though the first one didn’t sell well.
We’ll have to wait and see what specifications (electric driving range, fuel economy, etc.) the Subaru plug-in hybrid will bring to market, but considering it will likely be a bigger vehicle than the Prius Prime, one made even heavier by a standard all-wheel drive system, we don’t expect the same 25 mile EV range as the Toyota.
The Subaru hybrid will initially be sold in the 10 U.S. states that have adopted California’s zero-emission vehicle regulations.
Porsche Plugs Into Electric Future, Doubles Spending On Electrification
Porsche has announced plans to invest more than $7.5 billion by 2022 to expand its lineup of plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, further expressing its full commitment to the electric car segment.
The production, Tesla Model S and Model 3-rivaling Mission E is on its way, as is a hybrid gasoline-electric version of the iconic Porsche 911. In fact, a big chunk of that investment ($623 million) will be dedicated to developing other versions of the Mission E and several distinct models based on its platform.
Another $1.24 billion will go towards adding hybrid versions of existing Porsche models, while $872 million will be used for new technologies, charging infrastructure and smart mobility.
Some of the investment is also being used to develop a new paint shop, a body shop, a dedicated assembly area, and a conveyor bridge to transport the Mission E’s painted bodies and drive units to the final assembly area in Zuffenhausen. The company’s existing engine plant is being expanded to manufacture electric drivetrains.
Porsche says the Mission E project has so far created 1,200 new jobs and expects the pure-electric sedan to arrive sometime in 2019 with three available powertrain options.
Infiniti Diving Into Electric Cars In 2021
Infiniti has announced plans to add electrified models to its lineup starting in 2021.
Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa made the announcement at the Automotive News World Congress, stating that Infiniti will offer a mix of fully-electric and hybrid e-Power vehicles. He didn’t reveal the models that will get electric powertrains but expects that a mix of those “electrified vehicles will comprise more than half of Infiniti global sales by 2025.”
The first all-electric vehicle will arrive sometime in 2021, and the hybrid vehicles will utilize Infiniti’s proprietary e-Power technology, which features a small gasoline engine that charges battery without the need of using a plug. Saikawa said:
“Customers can expect beautifully designed vehicles like the Q Inspiration concept shown in Detroit, with a whole new level of electrified driving performance as an evolution of Infiniti’s current powertrains.”
Considering virtually every luxury automaker is planning to launch all-electric vehicles to compete with Tesla by 2020, and many already offer hybrid vehicles, Infiniti’s plan to launch its first EV in 2021 will make the company late to market. However, with the EV segment still in infancy, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.