A WEEK after EU officials decreed that electric cars must make a noise like a petrol or diesel car when they are running at low speeds so that pedestrians or cyclists can hear them, Nissan has released a video demonstrating how impressively quiet its Leaf electric car is.
The film, called Silent Ride, features three Leafs racing through a French village at night. Their challenge: to zip through it without waking anybody up. To test their success, residents were filmed while they slept.
The exercise was held to mark the 19th annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD). According to the Centre for Hearing and Communication (CHC), which launched the annual event, noise pollution causes a range of emotional and health problems including insomnia, obesity, psychic disorders and a reduction in life expectancy.
Nissan said that the running noise of its Leaf electric car was 21dB, quieter than a ceiling fan (26dB) and far below the World Health Authority’s night-time noise target for Europe of 40dB.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, director of electric vehicles, Nissan Europe, said: “One thing that surprises people about the Leaf is the feeling of near silence. It is incredibly liberating and makes for a very relaxing driving experience.”
However, when Driving challenged the car maker to explain how its near-silent Leaf conformed with the forthcoming EU legislation, a spokesperson said that to alert people to its presence, the car already emitted an artificially produced whine at speeds below 20mph.
When told that the legislation will require the noise to mimic an internal combustion engine revving, they said the company’s engineers in Japan would be informed and any necessary modifications made.