Been driving the Bolt around now for a couple of weeks and I’ve started to notice a very subtle noise it makes. Its a bit odd, almost sounds like something is boiling under the hood. You can only hear it at slow speeds…
Of course many EV owners read the above and knew exactly what I’m talking about: Its the pedestrian alert noise (In Chevy’s abbreviation terms its the PFAF or Pedestrian Friendly Alert Function). New EVs must make some sort of sound by September 1st, 2019 according to the law/rules set forth by congress and NHTSA.
Our Focus Electric (FFE) did not have any pedestrian noisemakers at all. There was some discussion about it and Ford even went to the length of producing some youtube videos asking FFE owners which sound was the best (none of them–they all sounded like airplanes LOL). I got really used to driving the FFE around in silence and never really had a problem. If you think about it: The biggest issue is a residential street with no crosswalks where someone blind could potentially walk out between some parked cars thinking nothing is there. Well if you’re going slow enough you’ll be able to stop in time, and if you’re going too fast the car will be making tire noise but I’m sure there is some sweet spot of speed were you couldn’t react fast enough and the car wouldn’t be making enough noise (its almost as bad as the trolley problem !).
When I searched around the internet I found many threads in different Bolt forums discussing the function. Almost all the threads started with someone asking how to disable the noise because they don’t like it (pull a fuse) with the thread devolving into the ethics of why you shouldn’t (its there as a safety feature to prevent you from plowing into blind pedestrians since they can’t hear the car, etc.).
On my Bolt at around 10-15 mph the noise made by the gears is louder than the noisemaker LOL (sounds like an ICE car in reverse). I don’t know, maybe the car really is too quiet and all I need is a bit more noise from it? Naaaah…I love my silence LOL.