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.

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Tesla's new self-driving software under scrutiny

Tesla Model 3. Photo: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

U.S. safety regulators are looking into crashes and near-misses involving Tesla's new Smart Summon parking feature, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: If the software is found to be unsafe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could order a recall.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019

Hybrid cars try to shed tree-hugger image

Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring is a plug-in hybrid. Photo: Lincoln

Carmakers are going to great lengths to reposition their gas-electric hybrid models as sporty, premium or even high-performance — anything but the responsible choice for tree-huggers.

The big picture: With stricter fuel economy standards looming, and zero-emission electric cars still too pricey for most consumers, automakers need to fill the compliance gap by selling a lot more hybrids.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019

Trump campaign, RNC say they raised record-breaking $125 million in Q3

Trump leaves a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Sept. 9. Photo: Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee said they raised $125 million in the third quarter of 2019 on Tuesday, setting a new presidential fundraising record, with $158 million combined cash on hand.

Context: Former President Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised approximately $70 million for his re-election campaign in 2011's third quarter. "Trump is going to have more resources to deploy earlier and more aggressively than any candidate in history," Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to Obama, tweeted in response to the news on Oct. 1, when the campaign first announced the haul.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 16, 2019