Woman Struck by Electric Car She Didn’t Hear Coming

Safety Technology

Just hours after a car-sharing program started in Paris, a woman was struck by a silent EV.

Paris' Autolib' scheme is being heralded as a long-awaited solution to the French capital's noise and air pollution problem. However the much-sough-after vehicle-sharing scheme didn't get off to the best of starts as one of the silent electric cars used in the program knocked over a pedestrian who claims she didn't hear it coming. Just hours after the Autolib' program kicked off the woman was struck as she crossed a Paris thoroughfare.

She was later taken to hospital a little bruised and battered but without any life-threatening injuries. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe believes the accident was merely unfortunate, saying there is no evidence to suggest a connection between the EV's silence and the crash. However, as CarBuzz reported last month, there is research to suggest the contrary. In a study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate organization of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it was found that hybrids are 20 percent more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash as a result of the lack of noise emanating from the engine when in electric-only mode.

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HLDI Vice President said: "When hybrids operate in electric-only mode pedestrians can't hear them approaching so they might step out into the roadway without checking first to see what's coming." Something the Parisian woman was probably guilty of doing. Earlier this year Congress gave the agency three years to come up with a requirement for equipping hybrids and electric models with sounds to alert unsuspecting pedestrians. 250 four-seat 'Bluecar' vehicles took to the street yesterday and 3,000 are expected within the next two years.

Powered by a lithium metal polymer battery, the car was built by Pininfarina in collaboration with Groupe Bollore, a French conglomerate. Hopefully they will take note of Congress' advice or you can expect more silent-EV-related road accidents in the near future.

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