American and European officials are working together to set joint standards for the development and regulation of future electric vehicles, a move that should further solidify the EV’s increasing prominence in the automotive market.
European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht was in Washington D.C. yesterday where he gave a speech and stated that the shared rules should help both sides “avoid moving into different directions and risk creating new market barriers.” Bloomberg reports that details still need to be worked out and will like be released later this year, but we expect a large chunk of the discussion will rest over batteries and motors.
The two sides will also likely address the issue of sound (or lack thereof), which was heavily debated among American lawmakers last year. Aside from the faint whine of electric motors and regenerative braking systems, EVs and hybrids are almost completely silent at low speeds. Last December, congress passed a bill that would require all EVs and hybrids to be equipped with a “noise maker” to alert nearby pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is approximately six months into its 18-month long study of researching and developing requirements for reasonable alert sounds.
While the true benefit of the EV noise makers are still debatable, the same could be said of many of the automotive regulations the U.S. government mandates. American consumers are often left lusting for European-market cars that automakers decide not to export to our shores due to the excessive bureaucratic red tape and modifications needed to meet U.S. standards. Volkswagen, for example, offers the sleek Scirocco two-door hatchback in Europe, but claims they would lose money by making it U.S. ready (and it would likely eat into GTI sales). So, while the planned collaboration is certainly great news for the future of EVs, it won’t do much for us fans of the good ol’ internal combustion engine.