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Delphi expects more legislation to make sure electric vehicles are heard

Delphi has developed two new sound devices for electric vehicles and it said one will be deployed at a major European carmaker next year.

The US based automotive supplier said the so-called “sounders,” which make sure otherwise noiseless electric vehicles can be heard by pedestrians, are compact, light-weight and low-cost.

All electric vehicle makers are putting noise-emitting devices into their cars in anticipation of expected new laws that mandate that the vehicles will be heard.

"Industry analysts predict hybrid and electric vehicle warning sounds, already covered by guidelines in Japan, will be required in North America and Europe in the near future," said Beth Schwarting, general director, electronic controls, at Delphi.

The first Delphi sounder is about three times lighter than a conventional system and uses 90 pc less power. A second device, with higher quality sound, weighs 66 pc less than a conventional speaker system.

Delphi said both systems are robust enough to be mounted under the hood. They incorporate a 32-bit microprocessor with flash memory, a link to the vehicle's data bus and an audio class-D amplifier.

Diedrich von Behr, managing director electronic, controls Europe, said in a statement that part of the value of the new sounders lies in their potential to be integrated with other vehicle systems.

Instead of implementing several alert systems, automakers can benefit from one flexible system that offers multiple features. Those can include unique sounds to warn a driver that the battery needs to be charged, confirm that a charging sequence is in progress and give notice that the charge is complete.

Delphi said its first sounder will be installed on a model that will be launched by a European car brand in mid 2012. It didn’t identify the automaker.