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Having read an article in i by Executive Editor Lisa Markwell about her electric car (a G-Whiz, if you are interested) being a danger to pedestrians die to its quiet nature, it got me thinking about the whole electric car vs noise pollution thing.

Living on a road that cars go past regularly, and at speeds at which they should not (got that, idiot boy at No 32?), noise can sometimes interrupt a day, and it is not often that silence reigns – and when it does it is a bit eerie.

So the advent of the silent electric car is possibly a bonus for householders like myself, sometimes having to turn the TV up to drown out the sound of outside cars, so what could possibly be wrong with a bit of quiet?

Enough to awaken those who must be obeyed at The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe who have decided, in their almighty wisdom, that they will push for a legal ruling to ensure that all electric vehicles make some sort of noise by the year 2013 (obviously, some time in 2013 – it’s nearly upon us!) And this ruling is backed up by facts from the Government’s Transport Research Laboratory which has revealed that pedestrians are more likely to be knocked down by an electric vehicle than one that isn’t.

And all because it is quiet and pedestrians can’t hear them coming.

May I respectfully suggest that pedestrians take off their headphones before crossing the road, and maybe stop reading their copy of “50 Shades of Grey” or “Jeremy Clarkson Speaks His Mind” (more a single-sided A6 sheet than a book) before stepping out; and you mums who decide to let cars know that you are coming by (not-so) slowly edging out your children in their buggies from between parked cars – maybe you could stop doing that as well.


1. First find the safest place to cross

2. Stop just before you get to the kerb

3. Look all around for traffic and listen

4. If traffic is coming, let it pass

5. When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run

Now; you tell me where in there it says “Wander out into the middle of the road without looking, relying purely on your sense of hearing that may or may not be impaired by music being played at an annoying level to those who are near you when standing on the bus.” Simple it doesn’t.

What it DOES say is “Look all around for traffic…” Admittedly it also says listen, but this was developed before electric cars, and it does include bicycles in the blurb that accompanies each point – and they don’t make any noise (except for a big “woooah” when you step out in front of them emanating from the ‘driver’.)

So there really is no need to make electric cars noisy just to please those people who can’t be bothered to look where they are going or, and I am not going to leave you out here Numbskull at No 26, those cyclists who decide to wear headphones whilst THEY are cycling along quite merrily without a care in the world thinking that car drivers and pedestrians alike have to look out for THEM and not the other way round. And I also include cyclists relying in their 20/20 hearing to let them know when a car is behind them who pull across cars to turn left – mind you, their hearing is pretty good when you shout words of encouragement (aka abuse) at them after they’ve done it!

Sadly, the directive is from our lords and masters of Europe (whatever David Cameron says) and we must obey; so the fight is on to find an acceptable noise for drivers of G-Whiz, Nissan Leaf, Tazzari, Volt, Twizy etc… Obviously Va va voom is gone, put-put wouldn’t sound too good, so maybe a whirr?

Personally I think it should play the intro from Gary Numan’s “Cars” as an engine noise – that’s get people out of the way!