On-Off Switch for Hybrid Noisemakers May be Banned
In January President Obama signed a law that requires all electric and hybrid vehicles to have noisemaking devices. It seems there is concern that pedestrians would not be able to hear the virtually silent cars. The law would take effect in a few years.
At least one automaker chose to install an on-off switch for its device in its hybrids. But now a report says the on-off switches could be banned.
Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a ban on the switches. The talk has caused Hyundai to delay deliveries of its new Sonata hybrid.
"We were hearing that at some point NHTSA would not allow [the noise devices] to be turned off," said Jim Trainor, a Hyundai spokesman. "We said, 'Why put this thing out there now and have to redo it in a few months?'"
So Hyundai decided to remove the switch, causing a delay in shipments. Cars that were supposed to arrive from South Korea in January instead will get to dealerships later this month.
Trainor would not say is any Sonata hybrids have already arrived in the U.S., but said 700 cars are either in port or at sea.
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