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Bad news for lovers of emotive engine acoustics is that draconian new sound-strangling laws are being mooted in Europe.
European politicians want to strengthen legislation lowering the allowed noise levels of cars and recommending mandatory artificial noise systems for electric vehicles.
The law would standardise the methods used to determine how noisy cars are in the European marketplace, which lawmakers say would result in stricter limits.
But the legislation retains a special clause for powerful low-weight super cars.
Nima Nader of the think tank Centrum fur Europaische Politik – who is clearly not a petrolhead – says allowing vehicles like a Ferrari to be louder than a car like the Audi A6 doesn’t make sense.
“In our opinion it doesn’t make any sense to let these special cars be louder than cars with a lower power to mass ratio, because the noise that is produced by the car has nothing to do with this ratio.”
Analysts also say that mandating the lowering of noise limits for cars over a short time-frame could drive up prices.
While officials in Brussels are keen that cars not be too loud, they are also quick to make sure they’re not too silent. Lawmakers worry that electric cars, which have no whirring motor generating noise, are too quiet to alert pedestrians of their approach and pose a special danger to the blind.
Their solution is to recommend that electric cars be fitted with an acoustic vehicle alerting system to emit an artificial sound.
Not everybody was pleased with the idea of creating noise for electric cars. Anti-noise advocacy group NoiseOFF opposes mandating artificial vehicle sounds.
“JUST MORE NOISE”
Group member Arline Bronzaft said: “Our streets are increasingly noisier with growing traffic and what we may end up with when we add sound to electric vehicles is just additional noise that will not help the problem as noted by individuals with impaired vision.”
Health experts may agree with Bronzaft. The World Health Organisation lists noise pollution as one of the biggest environmental problems in Europe, causing sleep disturbances, ear damage, and stress. Medical studies have found that exposure to long-term road traffic noise was associated with a higher risk of heart attack.
The European Parliament will vote on the legislation later this year. - Star Motoring