Sep 18, 2019

Consumers to select sounds to accompany their quiet hybrid cars and EVs

Electric cars like the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus are too quiet. Photo: Nissan

Federal auto safety officials may soon allow you to pick your car's ringtone.

Why it matters: Electric vehicles and hybrids are quiet, which means they can be dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclists and people with vision impairments. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires carmakers to add alert sounds to their quiet models.

What's happening: This week, in response to automakers' requests, NHTSA said it will at least let consumers choose from a variety of sounds, Reuters reports.

  • Whether there's a limit on the number of compliant sounds is still open for discussion.

My thought bubble: I'm all for customization, but this sounds like a situation where there should be a standard sound so people know when a car is approaching and don't confuse it with other ambient sounds.

The bottom line: It will cost automakers about $40 million a year to add an external waterproof speaker to comply with the rule, but reduced injuries will save an estimated $250 million to $320 million annually.

Go deeper

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Police officer in George Floyd killing charged with third-degree murder

A protester with a sign with George Floyd's last words. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

The state of play: Freeman said that the delay in Chauvin's arrest, which came four days after Floyd's death on Monday, was due to the need to collect sufficient evidence — and that it was "by far the fastest" his office had charged a police officer. He added that he also anticipated charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death, but refused to elaborate.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,871,347 — Total deaths: 362,554 — Total recoveries — 2,463,332Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,731,035 — Total deaths: 102,201 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.