U.S. wants warning systems for the hybrid cars to protect pedestrians

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 6, 2011

The safety regulators in the U.S. will be requiring manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles such as General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. to install automatic warning systems to alert pedestrians.

The advocates for the blind as well as the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have, for several years, raised concerns regarding the safety risks posed by electric and hybrid cars to pedestrians, as these vehicle models make little engine noise.

According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, safety must still be focused even when we make “giant leaps forward” with these types of vehicles. In 2010, Japan suggested that warning systems should be required on fuel-cell vehicles, electric vehicles and hybrids that can run exclusively on electric motors.

By law, NHTSA must write a standard by July 4, 2012, regarding an alert system that does not need to be controlled by the driver or pedestrian to be activated, the agency stated in its website.

The agency further stated in its notice that all car units of the same model and make must have the same warning sound. Additionally, the agency disclosed that the Chevy Volt from GM and the Leaf from Nissan, which are both plug-in electric cars, offer sound-alert systems.

However, according to the NHTSA as well as the GM’s website, the alert system in Volt is activated when the driver pulls the turn-signal handle.

Down to the very last detail, the new Nissan LEAF’s design is truly evocative of the brand’s prototype model. Aside from the V-shaped front end, the car also houses a perfectly styled long slanted LED headlamp that reflects a bluish ray of light. No matter where it goes, it resonates with a statement that the car has a very unique quality. Incidentally, LEAF’s extraordinary style doesn’t stem only from the eye-catching headlamps.

Nissan has designed LEAF to be a world-class car with highly independent qualities. The LED consumes as little as 10% of the electricity used by the usual lamps. They also engineered this accessory with a smart feature to reduce noise, wind and drag by splitting and changing the direction of the airflow.

In line with its environment-friendly theme, the blue actually symbolises the colour of the earth. The tone blends harmoniously with LEAF’s interior and dashboard accessories, which also come in nearly the same blue colour.

Aqua Globe was the car’s original exterior body paint when Nissan LEAF was first introduced to the market. Furthermore, LEAF’s über stylish cabin environment is also adorned with blue trimmings, adding more charm to its already pleasant ambience.

The new Nissan comes with an exclusive IT system as part of LEAF’s mobility strategy. This feature provides a connection to Nissan LEAF’s global data centre that serves 24/7 entertainment and information as well as provides a customer service helpline.

Tooru Abe, Chief Product Specialist, has pointed out the importance of the IT system to today’s vehicle. He also mentioned how much they wanted this environment-friendly-car to serve enhancements that are useful to the driver and also its passengers.

With the latest technology, this eco-car calculates the amount of power remaining and determines the destinations the car is still capable of reaching. The in-dash monitor also directs the driver to the nearest charging station in case of an untoward event. For very busy individuals, there is also the built-in programmable timer to set a certain schedule to recharge the battery.

When the car doesn’t have enough power, a smart mobile phone application can serve as an alternative to turn on the air conditioning unit and also adjust the charging timetable. Practical consumers will find everything they need in this car while others would want to buy the new Nissan to use it as an everyday vehicle.

The LEAF’s holistic approach also offers consumers with an extensive line of eco-friendly product alternatives such as Clean Diesel, Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), Idle Stop and Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT).

Through all these, Nissan’s first entry to eco-friendly and zero-emission mobility era is still very much credited to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) technology. The company has also invested in FCV technology or Fuel Cell Vehicle and research to achieve their ultimate objective.

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