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Measuring the Sound of Zero Emissions

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Hazel
Hazel  
1/7/2014 7:18:49 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Quiet In Your Future?
I agree with you, Susan. Some newer cars that run really silently are actually outfitted with artificial soundmakers to make that distinct "running engine" sound so that people, like those crossing the streets, would be able to hear cars coming because they're so used to these sounds already.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/7/2014 4:55:07 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Truly zero emissions?
It's a fair point, Terry, and should probably be factored into the equation. Spain has considerable renewable energy from wind and solar power -- about 27 percent of its overall supply. So it's conceivable that the electricity to power EVs here *is* actually renewable.

But I get your bigger point. 

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
1/6/2014 4:47:12 PM
User Rank Blogger
Truly zero emissions?
Interesting blog, Susan... I've been tracking the rise of EVs and hybrids and I think they're indeed worthwhile and valuable. But can they truthfully claim zero emissions when they're getting electricity from coal- or nuclear-powered electrical grids? I realize not all EVs plug into grids like these, but i think this aspect is frequently overlooked in this allegedly green transport solution.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/6/2014 3:44:08 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: The real gain or zero emissions vehicular traffic
you54, great points all around. I'm curious to better understand what you're saying about Japanese EVs. Are the artificial noises coming from the cars themselves? If so, it seems to me that this would be a feature that makes its way into EVs all across the globe, then. Also, what do the noises sound like?

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
1/6/2014 9:09:28 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: quiet cars
The noise of traffic doesnt really bother me as I dont live near a freeway...but every now and then it gets to me especially when I hear people racing around or with those nose making exhausts (which are illegal in CA).

But having the streets a quieter place for everyone is a great thing and when that day comes I welcome it wholeheartedly.

but for kids, the blind and elderly and those hard of hearing, it would be good to add a little bit of noise to those cars.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/6/2014 6:10:12 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: The real gain or zero emissions vehicular traffic
That's really a fascinating point, you54. As you say, the implications are huge if the energy -- literally and figuratively -- directed toward soundproofing and air quality could be refocused toward a more open, interconnected environment. 

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/6/2014 6:06:02 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: quiet cars
Totally with you here that the changing cityscape could solve the problem without resorting to artificial noise.  Or maybe it will just be an interum device until other elements catch up to the quieter environment.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/6/2014 6:01:34 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Quiet In Your Future?
Great point, kq4ym. Most people don't know what real quiet is. If the combustion engine eventually goes away -- or rather *when* the combustion engine goes away, we'll hear things that were smothered by the growl of traffic and probably be surprised by the quieter layers of sounds that have been there all along.

Electric vehicles aren't silent. They are quieter of course. But if we re-attune, we likely will hear them more than we imagine. It's a question of degree right now.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/6/2014 5:55:48 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: quiet cars
As I mentioned in a later comment, Nicole, US regulators are on it, and in theory should be presenting some noise-generating proposal this month. 

But I also wonder if it's playing to people's habits too much. We're used to cars with noise, but as traffic becomes more electric-powered people will adjust and be more alert -- hopefully. Although in the case of the sight-impaired, I think it's valid.

richheap
richheap  
1/6/2014 4:29:09 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Drab
Car horns are awful, Susan. They're one reason I came away from a three-day trip in Cairo with a terrible headache. They were so prevalent over there that I couldn't escape.

Now onto the main bit of your point. I'm not saying car noise is particularly exciting itself, but it does still add to the feeling of hustle and bustle in a busy city. I enjoy living my home city Oxford, and I like the fact that there are restrictions on private cars in big parts of the city centre. This does give the city a more relaxed atmosphere. But I also like visiting big cities like London and New York because there does seem to be much more going on, and part of that feeling is created by the movement of cars and the noise they create. Oxford is a small city and quieter London or New York, but quieter isn't always better. It's different.

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