[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 38 (Monday, February 26, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 8182-8198]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03721]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2018-0018]
RIN 2127-AL84


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, Minimum Sound 
Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; response to petitions for reconsideration.

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SUMMARY: This document responds to petitions for reconsideration 
regarding NHTSA's December 2016 final rule which established new 
Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 141, ``Minimum sound 
for hybrid and electric vehicles.'' The agency received submissions 
from three petitioners requesting six discrete changes to the final 
rule, and also received technical questions from the petitioners. After 
consideration of the petitions and all supporting information, NHTSA 
has decided to grant the petitions for four of the discrete changes, 
deny one, and request comment in a separate document for the sixth 
proposed change.

DATES: Effective April 27, 2018.
    Compliance dates: Compliance with FMVSS No. 141 and related 
regulations, as amended in this rule, is required for all hybrid and 
electric vehicles to which these regulations are applicable beginning 
on September 1, 2020. The initial compliance date for newly 
manufactured vehicles under the 50-percent phase-in as specified in 
FMVSS No. 141 is delayed by one year to September 1, 2019.
    Petitions for reconsideration of this final action must be received 
not later than April 12, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Correspondence related to this rule including petitions for 
reconsideration and comments should refer to the docket number in the 
heading of this document and be submitted to: Administrator, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Washington, 
DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: You may contact Mr. Thomas Healy in 
NHTSA's Office of the Chief Counsel regarding legal issues at (202) 
366-2992 or FAX: 202-366-3820. For non-legal issues, you may contact 
Mr. Michael Pyne, NHTSA Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, at (202) 
366-4171 or FAX: 202-493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Of the six requested changes contained in 
the petitions, NHTSA is granting the petition request to postpone the 
compliance phase-in schedule by one year. NHTSA also is granting two 
petition requests relating to the ``Sameness'' requirements in the 
final rule to further allow variations in alert sound across different 
vehicle types, and to reduce the number of compliance criteria to meet 
the sameness standards. In addition, NHTSA is granting a petition 
request to modify the regulatory language to permit the alteration of 
the alert sound as originally equipped on a vehicle for repairs and 
recall remedies. NHTSA has decided to deny one petition request to 
change the crossover speed, which is the speed above which the 
pedestrian alert sound is allowed to turn off, from 30 kilometers per 
hour (km/h) to 20 km/h. The agency has determined that the available 
information on lowering the crossover speed does not warrant making 
that change.
    Furthermore, regarding a petition request to allow vehicles to be 
manufactured with a suite of driver-selectable pedestrian alert sounds, 
the agency is neither granting nor denying that request in this 
document. Instead, NHTSA intends to issue a separate document at a 
later date to seek comment on the issue of driver-selectable sounds.
    Additionally, this document addresses a few requests for technical 
changes and provides a few clarifications of final rule technical 
requirements raised in the petitions. Lastly, this document responds to 
a comment on the final rule about the availability of industry 
technical standards incorporated by reference in the final rule.

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. Background
    A. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
    B. Final Rule
III. Petitions for Reconsideration Received by NHTSA
    A. Alliance/Global Petition for Reconsideration and Letters of 
Support
    B. Honda Petition for Reconsideration
    C. Nissan Petition for Reconsideration
    D. Other Issues
IV. Agency Response and Decision
    A. Phase-In Schedule, Compliance Dates, and Lead Time
    B. Sameness Requirement for Same Make, Model, Model Year 
Vehicles
    C. Criteria for Sameness of Production Vehicles
    D. Alteration of the OEM Alert Sound
    E. Crossover Speed
    F. Technical Clarifications in the Nissan and Honda Petitions
    G. Other Comments Relevant to the Final Rule
V. Response to Petitions for Reconsideration
VI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

I. Executive Summary

    Pursuant to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 
(PSEA),\1\ NHTSA issued a final rule on December 14, 2016, to create a 
new FMVSS setting minimum sound level requirements for low-speed 
operation of hybrid and electric light vehicles. The minimum sound 
requirements provide a means for blind and other pedestrians as well as 
bicyclists and other road users to detect the presence of these so-
called quiet vehicles and thereby reduce the risk that these vehicles 
will be involved in low-speed pedestrian crashes.
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    \1\ Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, Public Law 111-
373, 124 Stat. 4086 (2011).
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    After the final rule was published, NHTSA received timely petitions 
for reconsideration \2\ from three sources: The Auto Alliance in 
conjunction with Global Automakers (Alliance/Global); American Honda 
Motor Company, Inc. (Honda); and Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan). 
These petitions requested several changes covering several aspects of 
the final rule. Of the various issues covered in these petitions, NHTSA 
identified the following six discrete requests for specific changes to 
requirements in the final rule (listed here in the order they appear in 
the Alliance/Global, Honda, and Nissan petitions):
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    \2\ The final rule allowed 45 days for submitting petitions for 
reconsideration, resulting in a deadline of January 30, 2017.
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    1. To delay by one year both the compliance phase-in schedule and 
the date by which all vehicle production must comply with the rule 
(section S9);
    2. To limit the compliance criteria for the Sameness requirement 
(section S5.5.2) to only the digital sound file and digital processing 
algorithm;
    3. To modify the Sameness requirement (S5.5.1) to allow alert 
sounds to vary by trim level or model series rather than just by make/
model;
    4. To modify section S8, which prohibits altering the factory-
equipped alert sound, to allow recall remedies

[[Page 8183]]

and vehicle repairs when components of the alert system are shared with 
other vehicle systems;
    5. To lower the crossover speed from 30 km/h (18.6 mph) to 20 km/h 
(12.4 mph);
    6. To modify the Sameness requirement so that a vehicle can be 
equipped with a suite of up to five driver-selectable alert sounds.
    To facilitate the agency's response to the petitions, we are 
treating each of these six issues as separate petition requests and 
addressing them individually in this document.
    As fully discussed later in this rule, the agency is granting 
several of these petition requests, specifically the first four issues 
listed above. We believe the corresponding adjustments to the final 
rule will clarify requirements, provide more flexibility to vehicle 
manufacturers, and remove potential barriers to achieving compliance, 
while having no foreseeable impact on the safety benefits estimated in 
the December 2016 final rule, as this rule simply corrects an error in 
the original final rule related to the phase-in schedule and does not 
make changes that affect the substance of the required alert sound. The 
agency is denying the fifth item above, relating to cross-over speed, 
because no new data or analyses have been presented that would justify 
reversing the agency's previous conclusion on cross-over speed as 
presented in the final rule preamble. As for the last item, on driver-
selectable sounds, the agency has decided to request public comment 
before deciding how to respond to that request, and NHTSA intends to 
issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) or other Federal Register 
document on that issue.
    In this document, the agency also responds to two issues raised by 
Nissan relating to acoustic specifications in the final rule. In 
addition, in response to technical questions in the Honda petition, we 
are providing several clarifications of some requirements.
    Lastly, in this document, NHTSA is responding to two comments 
submitted to the docket, one from Ford regarding the legality of 
equipping certain vehicles used for security purposes with a means of 
turning off the required pedestrian alert sound, and the other from 
PublicResource.org regarding the availability to the general public of 
technical documents, including industry standards from SAE, ISO, and 
ANSI, incorporated by reference in the final rule.

Phase-In Schedule and Lead Time

    The Alliance/Global and Honda petitions along with a supplemental 
submission from Alliance/Global and a supporting comment from General 
Motors Corporation discussed several reasons related to vehicle design, 
development, and manufacturing that will make it very difficult if not 
impossible for manufacturers to meet the final rule's compliance phase-
in schedule. The petitions and supporting comments pointed out that 
there are significant differences between the final rule requirements 
and those in the NPRM, as well as differences between the final rule 
and a European regulation on minimum vehicle sound, that will force 
manufacturers to make changes to prospective vehicle designs. Even if a 
manufacturer had already incorporated NPRM specifications into future 
vehicle designs, more design lead time still is needed to accommodate 
final rule requirements. They also discussed the specific language used 
in the PSEA regarding phase-in of compliance and indicated they believe 
the PSEA requires NHTSA to provide an additional year of lead time 
before manufacturers must achieve full compliance with the standard.
    In consideration of these petitions and supporting documents, the 
agency recognizes that hybrid and electric vehicle product cycles that 
are in process for model years 2019 and 2020 may already be beyond the 
point where they could fully meet the final rule's compliance phase-in 
schedule.
    Thus, the agency has decided to grant the petitions from Alliance/
Global and Honda with respect to extending the lead-time for compliance 
with the final rule. In this document, we are specifying new compliance 
dates which delay by one full year the date in the final rule by which 
a fifty percent phase-in must be achieved (revised to September 1, 
2019) and the deadline date for full compliance of all vehicles subject 
to the requirements of the safety standard (revised to September 1, 
2020). We also are making conforming changes to the dates in the Part 
585 Phase-in Reporting requirements as amended by the December 14, 
2016, final rule.

Changes to Sameness Requirements

    The automakers that petitioned NHTSA stated that vehicles of the 
same model can have significant differences that might affect their 
sound output. For example, Honda pointed out that a two-door and four-
door car can have the same make/model designation. Vehicles of the same 
model designation also might have different powertrains and bodywork 
such as grille design and body cladding, which have the potential to 
influence both the emitted sound and the air-generated sound when the 
vehicle is in motion. The agency recognizes that, because of these 
differences, it is not accurate in all instances to consider all 
vehicles of the same make/model to be the same for the purposes of the 
FMVSS No. 141 requirement.
    Where the PSEA required ``the same sound or set of sounds for all 
vehicles of the same make and model,'' it was left up to NHTSA to 
interpret how ``model'' should be defined for the purpose of regulating 
similarity of the pedestrian alert sound. The agency therefore has 
decided to grant the Alliance/Global and Honda petitions with respect 
to this part of the ``Sameness'' requirement. We are amending the final 
rule so that alert sounds can vary across different vehicle trim levels 
in addition to varying by make, model, and model year as provided in 
the final rule.
    We note that the term ``trim level'' was suggested in the Alliance/
Global petition as the criterion that should be used to distinguish 
vehicles for the purpose of the FMVSS No. 141 Sameness requirements. 
Honda meanwhile suggested using the term ``series.'' ``Trim level'' is 
not a term that is defined in NHTSA regulations, while the term 
``series'' is defined in Part 565.12. However, according to another 
definition in Part 565.12, specifically the definition of ``model,'' a 
series is not considered a subset of a model, as it would appear Honda 
assumed it is. Therefore, we believe that the term ``series'' is not 
appropriate to use in this instance. We thus are modifying the 
regulatory text to account for different trim levels, but not 
``series.'' We believe amending the requirement in this way is the best 
approach for identifying groups of vehicles that are required to have 
the same pedestrian alert sound. This also will provide the added 
flexibility in the Sameness requirement that manufacturers are seeking, 
and it is responsive to both the Alliance/Global and Honda requests on 
this issue.
    The second change we are making to the Sameness requirements is to 
limit the criteria listed in paragraph S5.1.2 for verifying compliance. 
As requested by Alliance/Global, we are simplifying the listed criteria 
so that the digital sound file and the sound processing algorithms will 
be the only specific criteria that are required to be the same from one 
specimen test vehicle to another. The automakers stated that other 
Sameness criteria listed in the final rule, such as component part 
numbers, are hardware-

[[Page 8184]]

based criteria that should be excluded. One reason is that the PSEA 
statutory language allowed for ``reasonable manufacturing tolerances.'' 
They also stated that requiring hardware-based Sameness would 
unnecessarily impede competitive sourcing of components, a practice by 
which automakers source components from different suppliers such that 
the components may have dissimilar part numbers even though they are 
built to the same OEM specification and have the same performance. 
Alliance/Global also cited a legal precedent under which NHTSA 
regulations generally must avoid being design-restrictive except when 
there is a valid safety justification.

Modify Requirement for Alteration of OEM Alert Sound

    NHTSA has decided to grant Alliance/Global's request to amend the 
language in paragraph S8 of the final rule prohibiting the alteration 
of the alert sound originally equipped on a vehicle at the time of 
production. Alliance/Global and Honda state that this prohibition is 
unnecessarily restrictive and does not allow for ``reasonable 
manufacturing tolerance'' as required by the PSEA. Furthermore, they 
are concerned the final rule could prohibit vehicle repairs and recall 
remedies when hardware components such as an electronic control unit or 
body control module, which may by design be shared between the alert 
system and other vehicle systems, needs to be replaced.
    Although the agency is uncertain that the existing final rule 
language which prohibits altering the alert sound originally equipped 
on a production vehicle would impede any vehicle repairs or remedies, 
we are adopting this change to clarify the existing language because it 
was not the agency's intention to hinder vehicle repairs or recall 
remedies.

Reduce the Crossover Speed to 20 km/h

    NHTSA is denying Nissan's request to reduce the crossover speed 
from 30 km/h (18.6 mph) to 20 km/h (12.4 mph). Nissan's petition stated 
that NHTSA had not specifically addressed their NPRM comment regarding 
this issue. The Nissan petition did not provide new information or data 
on crossover speed that NHTSA had not considered when developing the 
final rule.
    NHTSA notes that the final rule did specifically address a JASIC 
study and test data which was the basis of the Nissan NPRM comment. 
More importantly, NHTSA included a new analysis in the final rule to 
address comments, including Nissan's, about the need to evaluate 
crossover speed using detectability criteria rather than by other 
methods. The new analysis in the final rule used the Volpe detection 
model which previously had been used to develop the final rule's 
acoustic specifications. In this new analysis, data from a selection of 
internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in coast down mode (engine 
off to simulate an EV or HV in electric mode) was analyzed using the 
Volpe model to determine whether the vehicle noise at each test speed 
(10, 20, and 30 km/h) had reached a detectable level. NHTSA's 
conclusion about this new detection-based analysis was that it did not 
support lowering the crossover speed to 20 km/h. Since this analysis 
was based on detection rather than comparisons to other vehicles, we 
believe it was responsive to the Nissan NPRM comments on crossover 
speed. Given that fact and the absence of new data in Nissan's 
petition, NHTSA has no basis to revise our previous conclusion about 
crossover speed.
    The agency also notes that the final rule contained other 
concessions that indirectly address manufacturer concerns about 
crossover speed. In the final rule, in addition to reducing the 
required number of bands from the proposed number of eight bands, all 
required minimum sound levels for each operating speed were reduced by 
4 dB to offset potential measurement variation. By virtue of this 
across-the-board reduction, the required sound levels at 30 km/h in the 
final rule are close to the proposed levels for 20 km/h in the NPRM for 
this rulemaking.
    Lastly, we note that safety organizations, particularly the 
National Federation of the Blind, have expressed their support of the 
30 km/h crossover speed and have not agreed that lowering it to 20 km/h 
is acceptable.
    The agency's position continues to be that lowering the crossover 
speed from the 30 km/h level, contained in both the NPRM and final 
rule, is not warranted by the available information, and we are denying 
the Nissan petition request on this issue.

Allow Driver-Selectable Alert Sounds

    NHTSA has decided to seek comment on Alliance/Global's request to 
allow hybrid and electric vehicles to be equipped with multiple, 
driver-selectable alert sounds before granting or denying this request. 
Amending the requirements to allow multiple sounds per vehicle would be 
a substantial change to the final rule. Because NHTSA did not solicit 
or receive comment on the number of driver-selectable sounds that 
should be allowed if NHTSA were to allow them, we believe it is 
appropriate to seek public comment before determining whether to grant 
this request. Therefore, in accordance with normal rulemaking 
administrative procedures, NHTSA tentatively plans to issue a separate 
document, which would provide an opportunity for public comment on this 
particular issue.

Technical Issues and Clarifications in the Honda and Nissan Petitions

    In addition to requesting specific changes to requirements in the 
final rule, the petitions raised technical issues relating to the 
acoustic specifications and test procedures and also asked for 
clarification on specific language in the final rule. These technical 
issues are summarized here and fully addressed later in this document.
    Technical issues raised in Nissan's petition included two items: 
First was a request to allow the use of adjacent instead of only non-
adjacent one-third octave bands for compliance; and second was a 
request to set the minimum band sum requirements for the 2-band 
compliance option to be equal to the corresponding overall SPLs of the 
4-band compliance option. We note that, while Nissan phrased these two 
issues as petition requests, we are treating them as technical 
clarifications because the final rule preamble included substantial 
explanation of the agency's rationale for specifying non-adjacent bands 
for compliance as well as the agency's methodology for selecting the 
band sum levels for the 2-band compliance option, and we do not believe 
that the information presented in Nissan's petition invalidates the 
agency's previous analysis, as explained later in this document. After 
giving these two technical requests from Nissan due consideration, the 
agency is not making any changes to the acoustic specifications in 
response to these requests.
    Honda's petition requested the following technical clarifications: 
Whether a vehicle can switch between 2-band and 4-band compliance at 
the different test speeds; which bands should be selected for 
compliance when the highest band levels above and below 1000 Hz are in 
adjacent rather than non-adjacent bands; and how to calculate the 
average of overall SPL values (section S7.1.4). Also, Honda requested 
that indoor testing be an option available for manufacturer 
certification in addition to outdoor testing.
    In reviewing the regulatory text of the December 2016 final rule to 
address Honda's petition, NHTSA identified

[[Page 8185]]

several inconsistencies and minor errors in section S7 of the 
regulatory text. Because the agency already was making a number of text 
changes to S7 to respond to Honda, NHTSA has taken this opportunity to 
correct and clarify the text as needed to resolve those inconsistencies 
and errors.

Comment About Availability of Documents Incorporated by Reference

    A submission to the docket from Publicresource.org was concerned 
with the public availability of technical documents that were 
incorporated by reference into the final rule. The documents in 
question are industry technical standards including an SAE recommended 
practice (in two versions), an ISO standard (in three versions), and an 
ANSI standard. Publicresource.org stated that various parties and 
members of the public that may have some interest in the rule would not 
have adequate access to these reference documents. This might include 
consumer protection groups, small manufacturers, hobbyists, and 
students. Publicresource.org did not specify why they believe 
availability would be limited or lacking, whether that would be due to 
cost of the documents or some other reason. The agency's position is 
that the subject reference documents for FMVSS No. 141 are available in 
the same manner as reference documents for any other FMVSS. For this 
rulemaking, the agency followed the same practice for handling 
reference documents as it always follows, as set forth in Section VI, 
Regulatory Notices and Analyses, in the final rule, as well as in the 
corresponding section at the end of this document.

II. Background

    NHTSA's involvement with the safety of quiet hybrid and electric 
vehicles and their impact on pedestrian safety goes back at least a 
decade to when the agency began monitoring efforts by various outside 
groups on this issue. In 2008 the agency held a public meeting on the 
safety of quiet vehicles and, the following year, initiated a 
statistical study of relevant pedestrian crashes and began researching 
the acoustical aspects of the safety problem.
    In January 2011, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation, the 
Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (PSEA), which directed NHTSA 
to undertake rulemaking to create a new safety standard to require 
hybrid and electric vehicles to have a minimum sound level in order to 
help pedestrians, especially those with impaired eyesight, to detect 
those vehicles.
    In accordance with the PSEA, NHTSA issued an NPRM \3\ on January 
14, 2013, and a final rule \4\ on December 14, 2016, establishing FMVSS 
No. 141, ``Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric 
Vehicles.''
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    \3\ 78 FR 2797.
    \4\ 81 FR 90416.
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    NHTSA's conducted a statistical crash data study, as cited in the 
final rule,\5\ which found that the pedestrian crash rate of hybrid 
vehicles was 1.18 times greater than that of conventional ICE vehicles. 
The agency's Final Regulatory Impact Assessment is available in the 
docket \6\ with some proprietary information redacted. Also, the 
benefits of the final rule are summarized in section V-A \7\ of the 
final rule preamble, and the costs are summarized in section V-B.\8\
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    \5\ NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts--Research Note, Wu, J., Feb. 
2017, ``Updated Analysis of Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Crashes with 
Hybrid Vehicles'' available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812371.
    \6\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0011 at www.regulations.gov.
    \7\ 81 FR 90505.
    \8\ 81 FR 90507.
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    NHTSA also completed an Environmental Assessment \9\ of the 
potential for increase in ambient noise levels in urban and non-urban 
environments in the U.S. which would result from a federal regulation 
setting minimum sound levels for hybrid and electric vehicles. The 
Environmental Assessment estimated that there will be only minimal 
impact in one type of non-urban scenario, and the overall environmental 
noise increase from the safety standard for HVs and EVs was found to be 
negligible.
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    \9\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0009 at www.regulations.gov.
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A. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, NHTSA issued a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) \10\ in January 2013 to create a 
new FMVSS setting minimum sound level requirements for low-speed 
operation of hybrid and electric light vehicles.
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    \10\ 78 FR 2798.
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    The NPRM proposed a crossover speed of 30 km/h (18.6 mph) because 
at that speed, based on NHTSA tests that used a ``peer vehicle'' 
comparison methodology, tire noise, wind resistance, and other noises 
from the vehicle eliminated the need for added alert sounds. In the 
agency's tests, the sound levels of a selection of electric and hybrid 
vehicles were evaluated and compared to the sound levels of vehicles 
having the same or similar make, model, and body type but operating 
with internal combustion engines (ICEs). For example, the sound level 
of a hybrid Toyota Camry in electric mode in a pass-by test at 20 km/h 
was directly compared to the sound level of a conventional gas-engine 
Toyota Camry of the same model year at the same pass-by speed of 20 km/
h.
    The NPRM specified an outdoor compliance test procedure based on 
the September 2011 version of SAE J2889-1. The compliance procedure 
included tests for stationary, reverse, and pass-by measurements 
conducted at 10 km/h (6.2 mph), 20 km/h (12.4 mph), and 30 km/h (18.6 
mph). We explained in the NPRM that NHTSA believed that outdoor pass-by 
testing is preferable to indoor testing in hemi-anechoic chambers using 
chassis dynamometers because outdoor testing is more representative of 
the real-world interactions between pedestrians and vehicles. We also 
expressed concern that specifications for indoor testing were not fully 
developed and did not have a known level of objectivity, repeatability, 
and reproducibility for testing minimum vehicle sound at low speeds.
    The NPRM proposed a Sameness requirement in order to ensure that 
hybrid and electric vehicles of the same make and model emit the same 
sound, as directed by the PSEA. The NPRM proposed that vehicles of the 
same make, model, and model year must emit the same level of sound 
within 3 dB(A) in each one-third octave band from 160 Hz to 5000 Hz.

B. Final Rule

    As noted, the final rule was published on December 14, 2016, and 
established FMVSS No. 141 which applies to electric and hybrid-electric 
passenger cars, MPVs, light trucks, and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 
pounds or less and to low speed vehicles (LSVs). The standard applies 
to these vehicles if they can be operated in an electric mode in the 
test conditions covered by the standard, without an any internal 
combustion engine (ICE) operation. The final rule requires hybrid and 
electric vehicles to emit sound at minimum levels while the vehicle is 
stationary (although not when the vehicle is parked, i.e., when the 
transmission is in ``park''), while in reverse, and while the vehicle 
is in forward motion up to 30 km/h. It also adopted the agency's 
proposal to conduct compliance testing outdoors.
    In the final rule, the agency reduced the number of one-third 
octave bands for which vehicles must meet minimum sound pressure level 
requirements. The NPRM proposed that vehicles would

[[Page 8186]]

have to emit sound meeting minimum requirements in eight one-third 
octave bands. In the final rule, hybrid and electric vehicles will 
instead have to meet a requirement based on sound level in either two 
or four one-third octave bands at the vehicle manufacturer's option, 
and a vehicle may alternate between meeting the 2-band and 4-band 
specifications depending on test speed. Vehicles complying with the 4-
band option must meet minimum sound pressure levels in any four non-
adjacent one-third octave bands between 315 Hz and 5000 Hz, including 
the one-third octave bands between 630 Hz and 1600 Hz (these bands were 
excluded in the NPRM). Vehicles complying with the 2-band option must 
meet minimum sound pressure levels in two non-adjacent one-third octave 
bands between 315 Hz and 3150 Hz, with one band below 1000 Hz and the 
other band at or above 1000 Hz. The two bands used to meet the 2-band 
option also must meet a minimum band sum level.
    Under the 4-band compliance option, the minimum sound levels for 
each band are slightly lower than the values proposed in the NPRM, and 
the overall sound pressure of sounds meeting the 4-band option will be 
similar to those meeting the proposed eight-band requirements in the 
NPRM. Under the 2-band compliance option, the minimum sound 
requirements for each band are lower than those of the proposed eight-
band requirements for the low and mid frequency bands (315 Hz through 
3,150 Hz; the 4,000 Hz and 5,000 Hz bands are not included for the 
purpose of determining compliance with the 2-band requirement.) Neither 
the 4-band compliance option nor the 2-band compliance option include 
requirements for tones or broadband content that were contained in the 
NPRM.
    For both the 2-band and 4-band compliance options, the final rule 
expands the range of acceptable one-third octave bands to include those 
between 630 Hz and 1600 Hz (these bands were excluded in the NPRM). It 
also reflects an across-the-board reduction in the minimum levels of 4 
dB(A) to account for measurement variability which the agency's 
development of test procedures indicated was needed.
    Reducing the number and minimum levels of required one-third octave 
bands while expanding the number of useable bands in the final rule 
provided additional flexibility to manufacturers for designing 
pedestrian alert systems while preserving the goal of pedestrian alert 
sounds that are detectable in various ambient environments.
    Regarding Sameness, NHTSA revised the criteria for determining that 
the sound produced by two HVs or EVs of the same make, model, and model 
year is the same. The agency determined that the NPRM requirement for 
the sound produced by two specimen vehicles to be within three dB(A) in 
every one-third octave band between 315 Hz and 5000 Hz was technically 
not feasible. The final rule instead requires that HVs and EVs of the 
same make, model, and model year emit the same sound by specifying that 
those vehicles use the same alert system hardware and software, 
including specific items such as the same digital sound file to produce 
sound used to meet the minimum sound requirements. The final rule 
listed several other criteria including part numbers of alert system 
components that may be evaluated to verify compliance with the Sameness 
requirement.
    The final rule made numerous improvements to the proposed test 
procedures in response to comments that were received on the NPRM.
    With regard to the phase-in schedule for the safety standard, the 
NPRM proposed a phase-in schedule for manufacturers of HVs and EVs, 
with 30 percent of the HVs and EVs they produce required to comply 
three years before the date for full compliance established in the 
PSEA, 60 percent required to comply two years before the full-
compliance date, and 90 percent required to comply one year before the 
full-compliance date. To respond to comments on that proposal, the 
final rule simplified the phase-in schedule by shortening it to include 
a single year of phase-in, rather than three years. This simplification 
provides somewhat more lead-time and responds to vehicle manufacturers' 
comments that the proposed phase-in was unnecessarily complex.
    Under the final rule, half of each manufacturer's HV and EV 
production would have been required to comply with the final rule by 
September 1, 2018, and 100 percent by September 1, 2019. The phase-in 
does not apply to multi-stage and small volume manufacturers; all of 
their HV and EV production would have been required to comply with the 
final rule by September 1, 2019.

III. Petitions for Reconsideration Received by NHTSA

    In response to the published final rule on Minimum Sound 
Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, NHTSA received timely 
petitions for reconsideration (submitted by the January 30, 2017, 
deadline) from three sources: The Auto Alliance in conjunction with 
Global Automakers \11\ (Alliance/Global); Nissan North America, 
Inc.\12\ (Nissan); and American Honda Motor Company, Inc.\13\ (Honda). 
Alliance/Global \14\ also submitted a supplemental letter in support of 
their petition. In addition, General Motors Corp, Inc., submitted a 
letter providing support on one of the issues raised by Alliance/Global 
and Honda. (The GM letter contained proprietary information, so it has 
not been released to the docket.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0012.
    \12\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0013.
    \13\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0014.
    \14\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These petitions requested several changes covering several aspects 
of the final rule. NHTSA identified the following six discrete requests 
for changes to specific requirements (listed here in the approximate 
order they appear in the Alliance/Global, Honda, and Nissan petitions):
    1. To delay by one year both the compliance phase-in date and the 
date by which all vehicle production must comply with the rule (section 
S9);
    2. To consolidate the compliance criteria for the Sameness 
requirement (section S5.5.2) to include only the digital sound file and 
digital processing algorithm;
    3. To modify the Sameness requirement (S5.5.1) to allow alert 
sounds to vary by trim level or model series rather than just by make/
model;
    4. To modify section S8, which prohibits altering the factory-
equipped alert sound, so as not to impede vehicle repairs when 
components of the alert system are shared with other vehicle systems;
    5. To lower the crossover speed from 30 km/h (18.6 mph) to 20 km/h 
(12.4 mph);
    6. To modify the Sameness requirement so that a vehicle can be 
equipped with a suite of up to five driver-selectable alert sounds.
    In addition to these specific requests for amendments to the final 
rule, some of the petitions included requests for technical 
clarifications. Nissan's submission included two such requests, one 
concerning the minimum sound levels for 2-band and 4-band 
specifications, and the other regarding allowing adjacent bands for 
compliance. Similarly, Honda's submission pointed out a few technical 
clarifications they believe are needed, involving the intended use of 
2-band and 4-band compliance options, the correct method

[[Page 8187]]

of data selection and calculation for certain steps in the sound 
evaluation process, and the option of using indoor testing.
    Lastly, NHTSA received one additional docket comment, from 
PublicResourse.org,\15\ that the agency has decided to address in this 
document. This comment was in regard to the availability to the public 
of technical reference documents, specifically several industry 
standards from SAE, ISO, and ANSI, that were incorporated by reference 
in the final rule. This docket submission in discussed in more detail 
below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ See docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Alliance/Global Petition for Reconsideration and Letters of Support

    The Alliance/Global petition addressed requirements for: Compliance 
phase-in schedule; equipping HVs and EVs with driver-selectable sounds; 
applying Sameness to each ``trim level'' rather than each model; 
limiting the Sameness compliance criteria to the digital sound file and 
digital algorithm; and removing any prohibition on altering vehicle 
components that may be shared between the alert system and other 
vehicle systems.
    Regarding the phase-in schedule, in addition to discussing design 
and manufacturing considerations that would make the final rule 
schedule unfeasible, Alliance/Global's petition pointed out that 
NHTSA's interpretation of the PSEA language regarding compliance dates 
appeared to have changed between the NPRM and the final rule. The 
petition argued that the earlier interpretation was the correct one and 
that, under that interpretation, the agency is required to provide an 
additional year of lead-time before full compliance is required.
    Alliance/Global submitted a supplementary letter which provided 
further detail on the phase-in schedule and the issue of driver-
selectable sounds. On the phase-in, the supplemental submission 
discussed specific final rule requirements that had changed since the 
NPRM. It also noted several areas where the final rule is different 
from the UN Regulation No. 138. In their supplementary submission, 
Alliance/Global also indicated that, if a set of driver-selectable 
sounds was permitted, manufacturers would limit the number to no more 
than five different sounds per make, model, model year, and trim level 
of vehicle.
    A letter in support of the Alliance/Global petition submitted by GM 
(submitted under a request for confidentiality) addressed the issue of 
phase-in schedule. This letter stated, ``While GM supports NHTSA's 
effort to create minimum sound requirements for electric and hybrid 
vehicles, the final rule contains a number of additional technical 
challenges that will require substantial redesigns to GM's existing 
systems.'' GM's letter also stated, ``The twenty-month phase-in 
provided by the final rule is far less than the normal timing required 
to develop, validate, and certify new systems.'' GM cited the final 
rule's volume shift requirement, different frequency range, and several 
design changes that will be needed in the sound generating systems that 
GM already has been installing in its electric and hybrid production 
vehicles. The GM letter cited specific hardware changes, upgrades, and 
replacements that their current alert systems need to be compliant with 
FMVSS No. 141.
    Most recently, on August 4, 2017, the Alliance of Automobile 
Manufacturers (the Alliance), the Association of Global Automakers 
(Global) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) wrote the 
Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation requesting that 
the December 2016 final rule be permitted to come into effect on 
September 5, 2017. The letter also requested that by September 5, 2017, 
NHTSA amend the compliance date of the December 2016 final rule to 
delay the phase-in and full compliance dates by one year and by 
November 6, 2017, respond to the remaining technical issues in the 
pending petitions for reconsideration.

B. Honda Petition for Reconsideration

    Honda's petition included two specific petition requests, one 
regarding the phase-in schedule, and the other regarding allowance for 
alert sounds to vary from vehicle to vehicle according to model 
``series'' as well as make, model, and model year. The remainder of 
Honda's submission was concerned with technical clarifications and 
comments on the rule. Honda asked if it is acceptable under the 2-band 
and 4-band compliance specifications for a vehicle to switch back and 
forth between the two specifications at the different speed conditions 
of the test procedure. Honda also asked NHTSA to clarify section 
S7.1.6(e)(i) of the test procedure, noting that there could be a 
conflict when choosing the two highest band levels while also choosing 
only non-adjacent bands for the compliance evaluation. In addition, 
Honda asked NHTSA to clarify the calculation method for averaging 
overall SPLs in section 7.1.4(c) of the test procedure.
    Lastly, Honda stated that indoor testing should be optional for 
FMVSS No. 141 compliance evaluations and is preferable because of the 
better stability and the efficiency of indoor sound measurements, and 
also because, from a harmonization standpoint, that would better align 
the safety standard with UN Regulation No. 138 which permits indoor 
measurements.

C. Nissan Petition for Reconsideration

    Nissan submitted a cover letter and technical slides in which they 
requested that NHTSA reconsider its decision in the final rule on the 
crossover speed, which the agency set at 30 km/h (18.6 mph). Nissan 
stated that they believe the crossover speed should be set at 20 km/h, 
and cited a previous comment \16\ that Nissan had submitted to the 
docket in May 2014 in response to the agency's NPRM and which 
summarized a JASIC study related to crossover speed. Nissan stated that 
NHTSA did not address this comment in the final rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ See docket NHTSA-2011-0148-0326.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nissan's petition also raised two technical issues. The first was a 
request that NHTSA allow the use of adjacent instead of only non-
adjacent one-third octave bands for compliance. The second issue was a 
request to set the minimum band sum requirements for the 2-band 
compliance option to be equal to the minimum overall SPLs for the 4-
band compliance option. Although these two issues raised by Nissan ask 
the agency to reconsider specific requirements of the final rule and 
request specific changes, we believe these two issues were addressed in 
the discussion of NHTSA's acoustic research in the final rule preamble. 
Thus, we have decided it is appropriate to treat these issues as 
technical clarifications.

D. Other Issues

    A comment from Publicresource.org expressed concern with public 
availability of technical documents that were incorporated by reference 
into the final rule. The documents in question are industry technical 
standards including an SAE recommended practice (in two versions), an 
ISO standard (in three versions), and an ANSI standard. 
Publicresource.org stated that various parties such as consumer 
protection groups, small manufacturers, hobbyists, and students would 
not have adequate access to these reference documents. 
Publicresource.org did not specify why that would be the case, i.e., 
whether it is due to the cost of the documents when purchased from 
their respective technical organizations, or some other reason.

[[Page 8188]]

IV. Agency Response and Decision

    As outlined in the previous section of this document, the petitions 
requested a number of changes covering several aspects of the final 
rule. NHTSA identified six discrete requests for changes to specific 
requirements. As stated previously, to facilitate responding to the 
petitions, the agency is treating each of the six issues as separate 
requests and addressing each request individually below.
    After considering all information provided by petitioners, NHTSA is 
granting four of the requested actions, denying one request (on 
crossover speed), and for the last item (on driver-selectable sounds), 
the agency has decided that it will be necessary to request public 
comment before deciding how to respond to that request, and NHTSA 
intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) or other 
Federal Register document on that issue.
    In regard to the four petition requests that the agency is 
granting, we are amending the final rule to implement the following 
changes:
     Amend Section S9, Phase-In Schedule, to add exactly one 
year to each of the dates listed in subsections S9.1, S9.1(a), S9.1(b), 
and S9.2.
     Amend Section S5.5, Sameness requirement, subsection 
S5.5.1, to allow alert sounds to vary across different trim levels, and 
also amend Section S4, Definitions, to add a new definition for ``trim 
level.''
     Amend Section S5.5, Sameness requirement, subsection 
S5.5.2, to limit the criteria listed in the final rule to be used for 
verifying compliance with the Sameness requirement so that the digital 
sound file and the sound processing algorithm are the only criteria 
that are required to be the same. Other criteria, particularly part 
numbers of hardware components, would not be listed in the regulatory 
text.
     Amend Section S8, Prohibition on altering the sound of a 
vehicle subject to this standard, to clarify that the rule does not 
prohibit vehicle repairs unrelated to the alert system in the case of 
replacement of hardware components shared between the alert system and 
other vehicle systems, i.e., a body control module.
    These amendments to the final rule and the agency's reasons for 
adopting them are further discussed below. In general, we believe these 
changes to the final rule are worthwhile refinements that will clarify 
the requirements, provide more flexibility to vehicle manufacturers, 
and remove potential barriers to achieving compliance, while having no 
foreseeable impact on the safety benefits estimated in the December 
2016 final rule, as this rule simply corrects an error in the original 
final rule related to the phase-in schedule and does not make changes 
that affect the substance of the required alert sound.
    Our decision to deny one request, as well as the agency's intent to 
seek comment on one issue, also are discussed in detail below. In 
addition, we address some technical issues raised and other comments 
relating to the final rule.

A. Phase-In Schedule, Compliance Dates, and Lead Time

    The agency has decided to grant the petitions from Alliance/Global 
and Honda with respect to extending the lead-time for compliance by 
extending the phase-in date and the full compliance date by one year. 
NHTSA is also addressing supplemental submissions from Alliance/Global 
and General Motors Corporation (GM) that provided information on the 
lead time issue.
    After further consideration, we agree with the petitioners that the 
interpretation of the PSEA phase-in requirements provided by the agency 
in the NPRM is the correct interpretation and that delaying the full 
compliance date until September 1, 2020 is required by that 
interpretation. The PSEA states that, ``The motor vehicle safety 
standard . . . shall establish a phase-in period for compliance, as 
determined by the Secretary, and shall require full compliance . . . on 
or after September 1 of the calendar year that begins 3 years after the 
date on which the final rule is issued.'' In the NPRM, the agency had 
stated that the appropriate timeframe should be the calendar year 
beginning 36 months after the rule was issued, such that, if a rule 
were issued anytime in 2016, the 36-month period after the date of 
publication of the final rule would end sometime in 2019. Thus, the 
first calendar year that would begin after that date in 2019 would be 
calendar year 2020, meaning that full compliance should be by September 
1, 2020. The agency believes that its interpretation from the NPRM 
continues to be the correct interpretation of the PSEA. In fact, upon 
review, the agency did not actually change this interpretation in the 
Final Rule, as the phase-in schedule and economic analysis were based 
on the assumption that the rule would be published in 2015, rather than 
2016, which is what actually occurred. The agency now corrects this 
error.
    Further, NHTSA agrees that, because of vehicle product cycles, it 
would be difficult for manufacturers to make the design modifications 
necessary for vehicles subject to FMVSS No. 141 to meet the current 
final rule phase-in schedule and full compliance date, especially in 
light of the significant changes from the NPRM and the uncertainty 
surrounding the issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration.
    In the Final Rule, the agency estimated that the economic impact of 
the rule for MY 2020 vehicles was $42M to $41.5M in costs and $320M to 
$247.5M in benefits at the 3 percent and 7 percent discount rates. 
However, in light of the issues raised in the petitions and the more 
recent letter from the Alliance, Global, and NFB, the agency believes 
that the analysis in the final rule may likely have understated the 
initial costs to comply with the rule. More specifically, the analysis 
was based on a less aggressive phase-in schedule and as such, does not 
support a 100 percent compliance date of September 1, 2019. In fact, 
comments received indicate that the more accelerated phase-in schedule 
than what the agency had intended is not technically possible, which 
calls in to question the relationship between benefits and costs 
presented in the Final Rule. By delaying the compliance date by one 
year, the economic impacts of the rule will more closely mirror those 
presented in support of the Final Rule.
    In this document, we are specifying new compliance dates which 
delay by one full year both corresponding dates in the final rule, 
i.e., the date by which a fifty percent phase-in must be achieved and 
also the deadline date for full compliance of all vehicles subject to 
the requirements of the safety standard. Under the amended one-year 
phase-in, half of vehicles produced in model year 2020 must be 
compliant, as follows:
     Fifty percent of each manufacturer's total production of 
hybrid and electric vehicles, subject to the applicability of FMVSS No. 
141 and produced on and after September 1, 2019, and before September 
1, 2020, shall comply with the safety standard;
    OR, at the manufacturer's option: 50 percent of each manufacturer's 
average annual production of hybrid and electric vehicles subject to 
the applicability of FMVSS No. 141 and produced on and after September 
1, 2016, and before September 1, 2019, shall comply with the safety 
standard.
    Immediately following the one-year phase-in, starting with model 
year 2021, all hybrid and electric vehicles are required to comply, as 
follows:
     100 percent of each manufacturer's production of hybrid 
and electric

[[Page 8189]]

vehicles subject to the applicability of FMVSS No. 141 and produced on 
and after September 1, 2020, shall comply with the safety standard.
    In making these changes to the compliance schedule, we believe this 
will afford manufacturers the additional flexibility and lead time 
needed to accommodate customary vehicle design cycles, thus addressing 
the schedule concerns expressed in their petitions.
    As a consequence of the revised phase-in schedule, it is necessary 
to make conforming adjustments to the Part 585 reporting requirements 
in order to align them with the new phase-in period. The conforming 
changes to Part 585 are detailed below.
Phase-In Reporting
    When a new safety regulation is phased in over a period of time, 
NHTSA requires manufacturers to submit production data so the agency 
can track and verify adherence to the phase-in schedule. Part 585 of 
Title 49 of the CFR contains the requirements for Phase-in Reporting 
for various FMVSS. To implement the one-year, 50-percent phase-in for 
FMVSS No. 141, the December 2016 final rule included amendments to Part 
585, appending new Subpart N, to provide for tracking of production 
data so that the agency can verify that the requisite minimum 
percentage of vehicles are in compliance during the phase-in.
    As a result of the amended phase-in schedule contained in this 
document, we are making corresponding adjustments to the phase-in 
reporting dates of Part 585, Subpart N, as amended in the December 14, 
2016, final rule. This entails adding one year to the due dates in the 
following paragraphs of Part 585, Subpart N: Sec.  585.130 
`Applicability'; Sec.  585.132 `Response to Inquiries'; Sec.  585.133 
`Reporting Requirements'; and Sec.  585.130 `Records.' These revisions 
appear in the regulatory text at the end of this document.

B. Sameness Requirement for Same Make, Model, Model Year Vehicles

    The petitions from Alliance/Global and Honda requested that NHTSA 
amend section S5.5.1 of the Sameness requirement in the final rule 
regulatory text. That section required all vehicles of the same make, 
model, and model year to use the same pedestrian alert sound system and 
be designed to have the same sound. This requirement originated from 
the PSEA which stipulated that the safety standard ``shall require 
manufacturers to provide, within reasonable manufacturing tolerances, 
the same sound or set of sounds for all vehicles of the same make and 
model. . . .''
    The automakers stated that vehicles of the same model can have 
significant differences unrelated to the alert sound system that might 
affect their sound output. For example, Honda pointed out that a two-
door and four-door car can have the same model designation. Vehicles of 
the same model designation also might have different powertrains and 
bodywork such as grille design and body cladding, which have the 
potential to influence both emitted sound and the air-generated sound 
when the vehicle is in motion.
    Alliance/Global requested that NHTSA add the term ``trim level'' to 
``make, model, and model year'' in S5.5.1 so that vehicles of the same 
make/model would be required to have the same sound only if the 
vehicles also have the same trim level designation. This would give 
manufacturers flexibility to allow the alert sound to vary among 
vehicles that, while having the same make/model designation, may 
nevertheless be physically different in significant ways. Honda made a 
similar request but, instead of the term ``trim level,'' Honda 
requested using the term ``series.''
    The agency recognizes that, because of the possibility of 
physically significant differences between vehicles within a model 
line, it is not practical to consider all vehicles of the same make/
model to be the same for the purposes of the pedestrian alert sound. 
The agency therefore has decided to grant the Alliance/Global and Honda 
petitions with respect to this aspect of the ``Sameness'' requirement. 
We are amending the final rule so that alert sounds can vary across 
different vehicle trim levels and also by vehicle body type, in 
addition to varying by make, model, and model year as provided in the 
final rule.
    For the revised requirement, ``body type'' is added and is used as 
defined in 49 CFR 565.12(b) which states, ``Body type means the general 
configuration or shape of a vehicle distinguished by such 
characteristics as the number of doors or windows, cargo-carrying 
features and the roofline (e.g., sedan, fastback, hatchback).''
    The request on this issue in Alliance/Global petition used the term 
``trim level'' as the designation criterion that would distinguish 
vehicles for the purpose of Sameness requirements in FMVSS No. 141, 
while Honda suggested using the term ``series.'' We note that ``trim 
level'' is not a term that is defined anywhere in NHTSA regulations, 
while the term ``series'' is defined in Part 565.12.\17\ However, it 
also should be noted that, per the definition of ``model'' also 
included in Part 565.12, a ``series'' would not be considered a subset 
of a model. On the contrary, a ``model'' as defined in Part 565.12 is a 
subset of a ``series.'' Therefore, the agency believes based on the 
existing definitions that ``series'' does not reflect a subdivision of 
a model line, as Honda seems to have intended. On the other hand, we 
believe the term ``trim level'' is widely understood to denote a subset 
of a model, which is what the petitioners seek to achieve according to 
the information they provided on this issue. Therefore, we are 
modifying the regulatory text to account for different trim level 
designations, without reference to or use of the term ``series.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ See 49 CFR 565.12, Definitions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For this revised requirement, ``trim level'' is defined to mean a 
subset of vehicles within the same model designation and with the same 
body type which are alike in their general level of standard equipment, 
such as a ``base'' trim level of a vehicle model. Other trim levels 
within a model might include a ``sport'' version or ``luxury'' version. 
These depend on the trim designations that are used by different 
manufacturers. Generally, different trim levels comprise no more than a 
few different versions of a given model. For the purposes of FMVSS No. 
141, minor differences including different wheel rim styles or merely 
being equipped with a sunroof should not be considered to constitute 
different trim levels. Trim levels should be considered to be different 
only if they represent vehicle differences that are likely to alter 
vehicle-emitted sound. We are including a definition of ``trim level'' 
in section S4 of the regulatory text to reflect this.
    We believe relaxing the final rule in this manner will adequately 
distinguish between groups of vehicles that, based on their physical 
similarity, can reasonably be required to have the same pedestrian 
alert sound. This change will provide the added flexibility in meeting 
the Sameness requirement that the manufacturers are seeking. At the 
same time, this change is acceptable from a regulatory standpoint given 
that the agency's understanding of the PSEA language was to allow for 
variation of alert sounds across different groups of vehicles so long 
as vehicles that are the same in most other respects would have the 
same alert sound. As pointed out by petitioners, vehicles of the same 
model might not be the same in many respects, but vehicles of the same 
trim level would be the same.

[[Page 8190]]

    The regulatory text of sections S4 and S5.5.1 amended per the above 
discussion appears at the end of this document.

C. Criteria for Sameness of Production Vehicles

    The petitions from Alliance/Global and Honda raised concerns about 
the wording in S5.5.2 of the Sameness requirement. Paragraph S5.5.2 
states that a ``pedestrian alert system'' includes all hardware and 
software components that are used to generate the alert sound. That 
section goes on to specifically list the types of vehicle components, 
including both hardware and software, that comprise a pedestrian alert 
system and that must be the same on any two vehicles of the same make, 
model, and model year. Among the listed items that must be the same are 
``alert system hardware components including speakers, speaker modules, 
and control modules, as evidenced by specific details such as part 
numbers and technical illustrations.''
    The petitioners believe that this requirement is overly design-
restrictive. In particular, they are concerned that requiring part 
numbers to be the same is not feasible. Alliance/Global stated, ``The 
regulatory text as written places part-number specific restrictions on 
a vast number of components and as a result creates a major impediment 
for manufacturing.'' They also state, ``OEMs may choose to source 
components from more than one vendor, and requiring the use of the 
`same' hardware and software may preclude that competitive process.'' 
They go on to say that the final rule is inconsistent with the Vehicle 
Safety Act stipulation that each FMVSS must permit a manufacturer to 
select any technology that can meet the performance requirements. 
Similarly, Honda's petition stated that, in cases where a shared 
component such as an ECU that serves multiple vehicle functions is 
modified during a model year due to changes in vehicle systems other 
than the alert system, ``the ECU part number would change, thus causing 
a violation of the Sameness requirement.''
    The agency has decided to amend the Sameness requirements as 
requested to limit the criteria listed in the final rule for verifying 
compliance so that the digital sound file and the sound processing 
algorithm will be the only criteria that are required to be the same 
from one specimen test vehicle to another. The petitioners stated that 
other Sameness criteria listed in the final rule are hardware-based 
criteria, such as component part numbers, and should not be included 
because it appears to disregard the statutory requirement to allow 
``reasonable manufacturing tolerances.'' Also, requiring hardware-based 
Sameness would unnecessarily impede competitive sourcing of components 
and related vehicle manufacturing and assembly practices. For example, 
automakers may source a component from different suppliers, such that 
the components have dissimilar part numbers even though they are built 
to the same OEM specification and have the same performance. Alliance/
Global also cited a legal precedent under which NHTSA regulations 
generally must avoid being design-restrictive except when there is a 
valid safety justification.
    To implement the amendment described above, the agency is adopting 
new language based largely on that suggested by Alliance/Global. The 
revisions to paragraph S5.5.2 acknowledge two types of design of a 
digital sound-generating system. In simple terms, one type uses a 
digitally coded source, such as a digitally recorded sound file, which 
is processed by a controller program and played back through the 
speaker system. Another type creates the sound without a source file 
using programmed algorithms that generates the signal that is played 
back through the speaker system.

D. Alteration of the OEM Alert Sound

    Section S8 of the final rule has the heading ``Prohibition on 
altering the sound of a vehicle subject to this standard.'' This 
requirement is unchanged from what the agency proposed in the NPRM, and 
it originated from a PSEA requirement stating that the safety standard 
must ``prohibit manufacturers from providing any mechanism for anyone 
other than the manufacturer or the dealer to disable, alter, replace, 
or modify the sound'' except to remedy a noncompliance or defect.
    NHTSA's interpretation of the purpose of this requirement in the 
PSEA was to prevent access to vehicle features which control the alert 
sound system so that it could not be modified, adjusted, or reprogramed 
in a way that would change the emitted sound or render it noncompliant. 
In other words, the alert system needs to be tamper-resistant to some 
extent. For example, a vehicle's owner-accessible setup menus should 
not include a setting that disables the alert system.
    The Alliance/Global expressed concern with NHTSA's wording of this 
requirement in the final rule. They stated, ``An OEM may decide to 
install a body controller or other component that may not be dedicated 
solely to FMVSS 141 compliance, but which is installed--in part--to 
comply with FMVSS 141. The PSEA does not preclude actions to repair 
such a body controller for reasons unrelated to FMVSS 141, yet the 
final rule appears to preclude such repairs.'' They also state that the 
requirement in the final rule exceeds the authority granted by the 
PSEA. Alliance's/Global's petition contained suggested edits to the 
regulatory text that would remove the potential conflict in the 
regulatory text.
    Alliance/Global also stated that the final rule was unnecessarily 
restrictive on this issue, and it did not allow for ``reasonable 
manufacturing tolerance'' as stipulated in the PSEA. Furthermore, they 
along with Honda are concerned the final rule could prohibit vehicle 
repairs or create other obstacles to vehicle updates when components 
such as an electronic control unit or body control module are shared 
between the alert system and other vehicle systems.
    We have decided to grant the request to modify the final rule with 
respect to this issue. Although the agency is uncertain that the 
existing final rule language in section S8 actually would impede any 
vehicle repair or upgrade, we are adopting this change because the 
language should be clear, and because it was not the agency's intention 
to hinder any vehicle repair or remedy unrelated to the pedestrian 
alert system.
    The amended text we are adopting is that suggested by Alliance/
Global. The revisions appear in the amended text of section S8 at the 
end of this document.

E. Crossover Speed

    Nissan's petition request to lower the crossover speed revisits the 
issues raised in Nissan's comments to the NPRM. Nissan stated that 
NHTSA did not specifically address their May 19, 2014 submission to the 
NPRM docket on crossover speed. Nissan's petition for reconsideration 
did not provide any new information or data that was not already 
considered by the agency when developing the final rule.
    NHTSA notes that the final rule specifically addressed a JASIC 
study \18\ and test data which was the basis of Nissan's submission. 
More importantly, NHTSA included a new analysis in the final rule to 
address comments, including Nissan's, about the need to evaluate 
crossover speed using detectability criteria rather than by other 
methods. (Those other methods included comparisons of ICE sound levels 
with the engine on and engine off, referred to as the ``coast down'' 
method; and also, comparisons of the sound

[[Page 8191]]

level of EVs or HVs to identical or similar ICE vehicles, called the 
``peer vehicle'' method.) For the final rule, NHTSA added a new 
detectability analysis for crossover speed using the Volpe detection 
model \19\ which had been used to develop the final rule's acoustic 
specifications. In this new analysis, data from a selection of ICE 
vehicles in coast down mode (engine off to simulate EVs and HVs in 
electric mode) was analyzed by the Volpe model to determine whether the 
vehicle noise at each test speed (10, 20, and 30 km/h) had reached a 
detectable level. NHTSA's conclusion from this new detection-based 
analysis, which we included in the final rule preamble to respond to 
comments, was that it did not support lowering the crossover speed to 
20 km/h (12.4 mph). Furthermore, since this analysis was based on the 
detection model rather than comparisons between vehicles, it provides a 
more useful means of identifying the speed at which added sound is no 
longer needed than peer vehicle and coast down comparisons.\20\ As 
Nissan's petition cited their previous comment based on the existing 
JASIC study rather than providing new information, NHTSA has no basis 
to revise our previous conclusion about crossover speed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ See 81 FR 90447.
    \19\ Hastings, et al. Detectability of Alert Signals for Hybrid 
and Electric Vehicles: Acoustic Modeling and Human Subjects 
Experiment. (2015) Washington, DC: DOT/NHTSA; available at 
www.regulations.gov, Docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0010.
    \20\ The PSEA defines ``crossover speed'' as the speed at which 
tire noise, wind resistance, or other factors eliminate the need for 
a separate alert sound. Because NHTSA's detection model attempts to 
determine when a vehicle would be detectable to pedestrians based on 
the sound from tire noise, wind resistance, and other factors that 
may be present, NHTSA contends that the detection model is the 
method for determining crossover speed most consistent with the 
language of the PSEA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency also notes that the final rule contained concessions 
that indirectly address manufacturer concerns about crossover speed. In 
the final rule, the minimum number of required one-third octave band 
components was reduced from the proposed number of eight bands. In 
addition, all of the required minimum sound levels for each operating 
speed were reduced by 4 dB to offset potential measurement variation. 
By virtue of these changes to the acoustic specifications, the overall 
level of sounds meeting the final rule acoustic requirements at 30 km/h 
(60 to 64 dB(A) for the 4-band option) is very similar to the overall 
level of sounds meeting the NPRM's proposed 8-band requirements at 20 
km/h (approx. 62 dB(A)).
    For all the reasons stated above, the agency's position continues 
to be that lowering the crossover speed from the 30 km/h level 
contained in both the NPRM and final rule is not warranted, and we are 
denying the Nissan petition request on this issue.

F. Technical Clarifications in the Nissan and Honda Petitions

Nissan Technical Issues
    Nissan's petition raised two technical issues in addition to the 
petition request on crossover speed addressed above. First was a 
request to allow the use of adjacent instead of only non-adjacent one-
third octave bands for compliance; and second was a request to set the 
minimum band sum requirements at each test speed for the 2-band 
compliance option to be equal to the corresponding overall SPLs of the 
4-band compliance option.
    After considering these two technical requests from Nissan, the 
agency is not making any changes to the acoustic specifications related 
to these issues. We note that, while Nissan phrased these two issues as 
petition requests, we are treating them as technical clarifications 
because Nissan's petition did not directly respond to or acknowledge 
the discussion and explanation in the final rule preamble as to the 
agency's rationale for specifying non-adjacent bands for compliance and 
the agency's methodology for selecting the band sum levels for the 2-
band compliance option. The preamble included a lengthy discussion of 
detectability research the agency conducted after the NPRM had been 
published.
    On the first issue, the question of adjacency of bands, Nissan 
cited a Zwicker loudness model that, according to Nissan, shows a 
frequency band will mask an adjacent band when the sound level 
difference between the two bands reaches 6 dB or more (in one-third 
octave band frequencies). Nissan pointed out that the difference from 
any band to an adjacent one in the final rule's required minimum levels 
is less than 4 dB for all of the bands included.
    Our response to this is that the masking data cited by Nissan 
applies to the masking of a component at the center of its one-third 
octave band. If the masker is shifted toward the signal, while still in 
its own one-third octave band, masking can take place at levels 
significantly less than 6 dB.
    Although it may be possible, depending on the ambient, to achieve 
detectability using adjacent bands, there still would be greater 
susceptibility to the combined masking effects due to adjacent 
components and the ambient that are enough to make a barely perceptible 
component not perceptible. This phenomenon appears to have influenced 
results of NHTSA's validation study \21\ in which alert signals with 
non-adjacent bands were detected more consistently (in a standardized 
55 dB(A) ambient) than signals with only adjacent bands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ Hastings, et al. Detectability of Alert Signals for Hybrid 
and Electric Vehicles: Acoustic Modeling and Human Subjects 
Experiment. (2015) Washington, DC: DOT/NHTSA; available at 
www.regulations.gov, Docket NHTSA-2016-0125-0010.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA also is concerned that an acoustic specification allowing 
adjacent one-third octave bands is vulnerable to poor design practice, 
in that a single tone placed at the cut-off frequency of a one third 
octave band could be credited for two bands (one on either side of the 
cut-off, with a level in both bands about 3 dB lower than the tone). A 
signal like this, though it might technically meet a 2-band criterion 
with adjacent bands allowed, would disregard NHTSA's findings about the 
importance of spreading signal components across a wide frequency range 
to create robust sounds detectable in a variety of ambient sound 
profiles.
    For these reasons, we do not agree with Nissan that adjacent bands 
should be allowed in the 2-band and the 4-band compliance requirements 
of the FMVSS No. 141 final rule. Furthermore, specifying non-adjacent 
bands imposes only a minor limitation on alert sound design, and we did 
not find any reason given in Nissan's submission why this requirement 
is unreasonable, impractical, or burdensome to an extent that it should 
be deleted. Therefore, the agency has decided not to amend the final 
rule with respect to the non-adjacency issue raised in Nissan's 
petition.
    Regarding the second technical issue in Nissan's petition, they 
requested that the band sums at each test speed for the 2-band 
compliance option should be set equal to the overall SPL levels for the 
4-band compliance option. In response, we first point out that the 
agency's reasons for specifying higher band sums when using the 2-band 
option are discussed in the preamble of the December 2016 final 
rule.\22\ In that discussion, the agency noted that the 2-band 
specifications were optimized so that allowable 2-band signals would 
achieve a degree of robustness (i.e., detectability in a wide range of 
ambients normalized to a 55 dB(A)) equivalent to that achieved by 
compliant 4-band signals. To maintain robustness, it was

[[Page 8192]]

necessary to set the band sum levels high enough to compensate for the 
reduced number of bands. Without this optimization, the agency would 
not have been able to accommodate NPRM comments calling for a 2-band 
approach.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ See final rule at 81 FR 90461 to 90463.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In comparing the 2-band and 4-band options, robustness is achieved 
for the latter by requiring acoustic energy at threshold levels in a 
minimum of four bands and specifying that these four bands span a 
minimum of nine one-third octave bands. The idea is that for an ambient 
of 55 dB(A), either the masking components would match those used for 
determining thresholds or masking components would tend not to spread 
across a wide range of nine one-third octave bands. Thus, there is a 
high likelihood with a 4-band alert signal that some portion of the 
vehicle's sound will be detectable in an ambient that is 55 dB(A) or 
lower so that it can be heard by pedestrians. The 2-band option has 
fewer bands and thus fewer opportunities to have a signal coincide with 
an advantageous ambient level. Instead, it achieves robustness by 
requiring a greater overall level (higher band sum) from the two bands 
(one below 800 Hz and one at or above 1000 Hz) that have the most 
acoustical energy. There is a fundamental tradeoff between loudness 
versus sound bandwidth when comparing the 2-band and 4-band options.
    In summary, NHTSA believes that the approach taken in the final 
rule for setting the band sum levels for the 2-band option is 
reasonable and justifiable, and Nissan's petition did not include any 
research or other information that would persuade the agency to take a 
different approach. Therefore, we are not making the requested change 
to the final rule.
Honda Technical Issues
    Honda made several comments in its petition about technical 
clarifications they believe are needed in the final rule. The first 
issue was whether a vehicle can switch between 2-band and 4-band 
compliance at the different test speeds.
    The answer is `yes', it is acceptable to switch between compliance 
with the 2-band and 4-band options for different test conditions 
(stationary, reverse, 10 km/h, 20 km/h, and 30 km/h). In any test to 
verify compliance with FMVSS No. 141, the measured sound of a vehicle 
at each test condition would be checked for compliance with both the 2-
band and 4-band requirements. For example, sound measurements of a 
vehicle in a 10 km/h pass-by test would be evaluated relative to both 
the 2-band and 4-band specifications, and the vehicle could achieve 
compliance by meeting one or both specifications. At 20 km/h, the 
evaluation of both the 2-band and 4-band specifications would be 
repeated independent of which specification was complied with at 10 km/
h, and the vehicle could again comply with one or both specifications. 
As long as the measured sound at a given test speed meets at least one 
of the two optional specifications, then it would comply for the 
particular test speed.
    Regarding evaluating the relative volume change requirement (S5.4) 
for vehicles that switch between 2-band and 4-band compliance, we note 
that relative volume change is based on a band sum of the whole range 
of 13 bands in the measured sound at each test condition, calculated 
per S7.6 of the test procedure. Because the criterion is the band sum 
of all the bands, relative volume change evaluation does not depend on 
which of the two minimum sound level options, 2-band or 4-band, is 
complied with in each test condition, and there is no conflict if a 
vehicle switches between the two specifications for different test 
conditions.
    Another technical clarification requested by Honda was in regard to 
section S7.1.6(e) of the December 2016 final rule. That section of the 
test procedure specifies which one-third octave bands should be 
selected for compliance evaluations under the 2-band compliance option. 
The requirement states that the two bands with the highest levels, one 
below 1000 Hz and the other at or above 1000 Hz, should be selected. 
Honda said that it is unclear which bands should be selected in the 
event that the two bands with the highest levels are adjacent, i.e., if 
they are specifically the 800 Hz and 1000 Hz bands.
    NHTSA recognizes this discrepancy and agrees that some 
clarification is needed. The intent of the final rule was that the two 
one-third octave bands (one below and one at or above 1000 Hz) with the 
highest SPLs that are, at the same time, non-adjacent would be 
selected, but the text does not specify what happens if the two bands 
with the highest SPLs are adjacent. In that case, to maintain non-
adjacency, another band having the next-largest SPL would have to be 
substituted for either the 800 Hz or 1000 Hz band. This substitution 
involves at least two permutations of band selection. In one 
permutation, the 800 Hz band would be selected along with the band 
above 1000 Hz with the second-largest SPL of the bands at or above 1000 
Hz. In the other permutation, the 1000 Hz band would be selected along 
with the band below 800 Hz with the second-largest SPL of the bands at 
or below 800 Hz. Both combination of two bands selected according to 
these restrictions are then evaluated according to S7.1.6(e)(ii) and at 
least one must comply with the applicable requirements in section S5 of 
the Standard.
    To make this clear, we are revising the regulatory text of 
paragraph S7.1.6(e)(i) in a manner similar to what Honda suggested.
    As a consequence of Honda's request to clarify this language, the 
agency identified two additional places in the regulatory text--in 
paragraphs S7.1.5(e) and in S7.3.5(e)--where it is necessary to insert 
similar amended text because those two paragraphs are analogous to 
S7.1.6(e), that is, all three of these paragraphs address an equivalent 
step in the procedure, with the only difference being the test speed. 
In the two additional paragraphs, S7.1.5(e) and S7.3.5(e), we also note 
that some of the text that was of concern to Honda in S7.1.6(e) was 
inadvertently omitted from the final rule. Specifically, those two 
paragraphs should have included the sentence, ``One band shall be below 
1000 Hz and one band shall be at or greater than 1000 Hz.''
    To clarify the text and accurately state the procedural step for 
selection of bands to be evaluated for compliance with the 2-band 
option, the agency is revising S7.1.5(e) and S7.3.5(e) using the same 
amended text as for S7.1.6(e), described above, except with different 
paragraph references within the text, as appropriate. The amended text 
for these two paragraphs is included at the end of this document.
    In addition to the above text clarifications and corrections, in 
section S7.1.5(e) of the December 2016 final rule, text applying to 
one-third octave band selection for the 4-band compliance option, but 
not for the 2-band compliance option was included. The iterative 
process to select a combination of four bands to be used to evaluate 
compliance does not apply for the 2-band option. Therefore, the agency 
is deleting that sentence from three sections of the test procedure 
where it is not relevant. The amended text appears at the end of this 
document.
    Lastly, in making the above text changes, the agency identified a 
few minor mistakes and inconsistencies in the wording of related 
requirements. In sub-paragraphs S7.1.5(d)(ii) and S7.1.5(e)(ii), the 
words ``of this paragraph'' are unnecessary because the exact paragraph 
reference numbers are included in the text. Furthermore, the phrase 
``of this paragraph'' could lead to a misunderstanding as it is not 
entirely

[[Page 8193]]

clear what ``this paragraph'' refers to. Thus, we are deleting the 
phrase ``of this paragraph'' in both places. Additionally, in 
S7.1.5(e)(ii) and in S7.1.6(d)(ii), where reference is made to 
paragraph ``(c)'' without further specificity, we are replacing ``(c)'' 
with the full paragraph numbers, ``S7.1.5(c)'' and ``S7.1.6(c)'' 
respectively, to avoid any misunderstanding and to be consistent with 
the wording used in related sections of the test procedure. Also, to 
enhance S7.2, procedure for testing in Reverse, we are adding the 
sentence, ``The minimum sound level requirements for the Reverse test 
condition are contained in S5.1.2, Table 2, for 4-band compliance and 
in S5.2, Table 6, for 2-band compliance.''
    Similarly, to enhance S7.4 for pass-by tests above 20 km/h up to 30 
km/h and S7.5 for pass-by tests at 30 km/h, we are adding an analogous 
statement to clarify which S5 requirements apply at those test speeds. 
In addition to this edit, we are re-wording S7.4 to more clearly 
express the pass-by speeds that may be tested. Finally, we are re-
wording and adding an additional sentence to S7.3.6 so that pass-by 
test speeds above zero up to 10 km/h are explicitly included and to 
include specific reference to the appropriate requirement tables in S5 
for both the zero to 10 km/h pass-by speed range and the greater than 
10 km/h up to 20 km/h pass-by speed range.
    NHTSA is making these technical changes in section S7 as part of 
the amendments in this document to respond to Honda's request and to 
correct inconsistencies and minor errors in the regulatory text. All 
technical changes and corrections discussed above appear in the amended 
regulatory text at the end of this document.
    Another technical question in Honda's petition was how to correctly 
calculate the average of the overall SPL values in section S7.1.4 of 
the test procedure. The answer to Honda's question is that a linear 
average is taken, which is the sum of the SPL values divided by four. 
The result is rounded to a tenth of a decibel, as specified in the test 
procedure. We also point out, as discussed in more detail in the 
following paragraph, that NHTSA intends to provide a computer program 
for compliance evaluation that will automatically execute all necessary 
calculations including averaging overall SPLs for S7.1.4(c).
    As a general response to Honda's comments, we note that the agency 
has been developing a ``NHTSA Compliance Tool'' for FMVSS No. 141, 
which is a programmed, computer-based application to facilitate 
compliance testing. As discussed in the final rule preamble,\23\ NHTSA 
intends to make this tool available publicly so that OEMs, test labs, 
suppliers, and others will have access to and full use of this tool, 
similar to what the agency did for FMVSS No. 126, Electronic Stability 
Control. This compliance tool will include a user interface that will 
prompt for test data input and will automatically evaluate vehicle 
compliance based on the input. All test data processing steps and 
calculations in section S7 of the safety standard are built-in to the 
tool. For example, with respect to Honda's technical questions, the 
tool will execute the band selection and calculate averages needed to 
verify compliance with the 2-band and 4-band specifications at each 
test speed, as well as compliance with the volume change requirements. 
The tool will evaluate all possible band combinations, such that if the 
situation regarding S7.1.6(e) cited by Honda were to arise, the tool 
would evaluate all combinations of the two highest non-adjacent bands 
above and below 1000 Hz.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ See 81 FR 90501.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The last technical issue raised in Honda's petition was about 
indoor testing. Honda stated that indoor testing should be optional, 
and it is preferable for certification of vehicles to FMVSS No. 141. 
Honda also stated that indoor testing is accommodated in the European 
regulation, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 
(UN ECE) No. 138, Uniform Provisions Concerning the Approval of Quiet 
Road Transport Vehicles with Regards to Their Reduced Audibility. Honda 
cited factors such as Doppler shift that influence outdoor testing, and 
stated that indoor testing has better stability and efficiency for 
sound measurement.
    In response to this, the agency points out that the preamble of the 
December 2016 final rule addressed indoor testing \24\ because this 
topic was raised in several NPRM comments. The agency acknowledged some 
advantages of indoor testing in hemi-anechoic chambers but also pointed 
out several reasons why outdoor testing on an ISO-compatible test pad 
is preferable, and concluded that the agency intends to conduct its own 
compliance tests using outdoor facilities. Importantly, with regard to 
Honda's indoor testing comment in their petition, the agency notes that 
the absence of a specific test procedure for indoor testing in the 
final rule does not mean indoor testing is prohibited. On the contrary, 
vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, and others have the discretion to 
conduct FMVSS No. 141 certification tests indoors as long as they can 
certify that a vehicle fully complies with the Safety Standard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ See 81 FR 90481.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

G. Other Comments Relevant to the Final Rule

    The comment from Publicresource.org expressed concern with public 
availability of technical documents that were incorporated by reference 
into the final rule. However, their docket submission did not specify 
any particular reasons that they believe various parties such as 
consumer protection groups, small manufacturers, hobbyists, and 
students would not have adequate access to these reference documents. 
Thus, NHTSA is not able to provide a response to more adequately 
address any concerns they might have. Given that the subject documents 
from SAE, ISO, and ANSI are copyrighted material, the agency followed 
its normal practice in making them publicly available, which includes 
keeping a printed copy of each of the reference documents on hand at 
NHTSA headquarters. Printed copies of the referenced documents are also 
available at the National Archives and Records Administration. The 
public availability of documents incorporated by reference was 
discussed in Section VI of the December 14, 2016, final rule.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ See 81 FR 90513.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Response to Petitions for Reconsideration

    Pursuant to the process established under 49 CFR part 553.37, after 
carefully considering all aspects of the petition, except for the 
request regarding driver selectable sounds, NHTSA has decided to grant 
the petitions discussed above without further proceedings.

VI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies require this agency to make 
determinations as to whether a regulatory action is ``significant'' and 
therefore subject to OMB review and the requirements of the 
aforementioned Executive Orders. The Executive Order 12866 defines a 
``significant regulatory action'' as one that is likely to result in a 
rule that may:
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or 
adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the 
economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public 
health or safety, or

[[Page 8194]]

State, local, or Tribal governments or communities;
    (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
the Executive Order.
    We have considered the potential impact of this final rule under 
Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures and have determined 
that today's final rule is not significant for any of the 
aforementioned reasons. This final rule only makes minor adjustments to 
the existing requirements of FMVSS No. 141. We are adjusting the phase-
in schedule and its reporting requirements to give manufacturers 
additional time to comply with the requirements of the final rule. We 
are also making several minor amendments to the rule to clarify the 
rule's requirements. We thus anticipate that the economic impacts of 
this final rule will be limited.

Executive Order 13771

    Executive Order 13771 titled ``Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs,'' directs that, unless prohibited by law, whenever an 
executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment 
or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least 
two existing regulations to be repealed. In addition, any new 
incremental costs associated with new regulations shall, to the extent 
permitted by law, be offset by the elimination of existing costs. Only 
those rules deemed significant under section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' are subject to these 
requirements. As discussed above, this rule is not a significant rule 
under Executive Order 12866 and, accordingly, is not subject to the 
offset requirements of 13771.
    NHTSA has determined that this rulemaking is a deregulatory action 
under E.O. 13771, as it imposes no costs and, instead, amends FMVSS No. 
141 to give manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles greater 
flexibility during the manufacturing process and when sourcing parts 
that comprise the alert sound system. This final rule also provides 
flexibility to manufacturers by allowing them to differentiate hybrid 
and electric vehicles of different trim levels within a vehicle model 
by allowing vehicles of different trim levels to produce different 
sounds. This final rule also amends FMVSS No. 141 to delay the date by 
which manufacturers are required to fully comply with the requirements 
of the standard by one year.
    Delaying the compliance date of FMVSS No. 141 for one year will 
result in a cost savings to manufacturers of hybrid and electric 
vehicles to which the standard applies of $21M to $20.75M for MY 2019 
and $21M to $20.75M75 for MY 2020 at the three and seven percent 
discount rates, respectively. These cost savings will accrue because 
manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles to which the standard 
applies will not have to comply with the phase-in requirements of the 
standard until September 1, 2019 and will not have to fully comply with 
the standard's requirements until September 1, 2020. NHTSA contends 
that these cost savings estimates are conservative and that the true 
cost savings of the rule are likely to be higher because, as discussed 
above, the cost benefit analysis accompanying the December 2016 final 
rule assumed a longer compliance lead time and did not account for 
costs that may have been necessary to comply with the rule in a shorter 
time period.

Executive Order 13609: Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

    The policy statement in section 1 of Executive Order 13609 
provides, in part:

    The regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments may 
differ from those taken by U.S. regulatory agencies to address 
similar issues. In some cases, the differences between the 
regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign 
counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of 
American businesses to export and compete internationally. In 
meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues, international regulatory 
cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective 
as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such 
cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, 
eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory 
requirements.

    In the preamble to the December 2016 final rule we discussed the 
reasons for the differences in the regulatory approach taken by foreign 
governments that have addressed this issue. As stated above, we are 
declining to adopt a test procedure for indoor testing included in UN 
ECE Reg. No. 138. NHTSA's test procedures are not requirements that 
manufacturers must follow when certifying vehicles to the FMVSS and 
manufacturers are free to choose whatever certification method they 
wish as long as the manufacturer can demonstrate a good faith basis for 
certification.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice 
of proposed rulemaking or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions). 
The Small Business Administration's regulations at 13 CFR part 121 
define a small business, in part, as a business entity ``which operates 
primarily within the United States.'' (13 CFR 121.105(a)). No 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency 
certifies the proposal will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of 
the factual basis for certifying that a proposal will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    I hereby certify that this rule would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final 
rule does not make any significant changes to the existing FMVSS No. 
141. Instead, this rule aligns the phase-in requirements with 
manufacturers' design and production cycles, and makes other minor 
adjustments to specific regulatory text to facilitate manufacturer 
compliance with the new FMVSS No. 141. It also clarifies some technical 
requirements and test procedures. The final requirements as amended in 
this document afford more lead time, and somewhat greater clarity and 
flexibility to vehicle manufacturers while maintaining the safety goals 
and benefits of the enabling statute, the PSEA, under which FMVSS No. 
141 was created.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's final rule pursuant to Executive Order 
13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional 
consultation with States, local governments or their representatives is 
mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that 
the rulemaking would not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation 
of a

[[Page 8195]]

federalism summary impact statement. Today's final rule does not have 
``substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government.''
    NHTSA rules can have preemptive effect in two ways. First, the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express 
preemption provision:

    When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this 
chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe 
or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of 
performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if 
the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this 
chapter. 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1).

    It is this statutory command by Congress that preempts any non-
identical State legislative and administrative law addressing the same 
aspect of performance.
    The express preemption provision described above is subject to a 
savings clause under which ``[c]ompliance with a motor vehicle safety 
standard prescribed under this chapter does not exempt a person from 
liability at common law.'' 49 U.S.C. 30103(e). Pursuant to this 
provision, State common law tort causes of action against motor vehicle 
manufacturers that might otherwise be preempted by the express 
preemption provision are generally preserved. However, the Supreme 
Court has recognized the possibility, in some instances, of implied 
preemption of State common law tort causes of action by virtue of 
NHTSA's rules--even if not expressly preempted.
    This second way that NHTSA rules can preempt is dependent upon the 
existence of an actual conflict between an FMVSS and the higher 
standard that would effectively be imposed on motor vehicle 
manufacturers if someone obtained a State common law tort judgment 
against the manufacturer--notwithstanding the manufacturer's compliance 
with the NHTSA standard. Because most NHTSA standards established by an 
FMVSS are minimum standards, a State common law tort cause of action 
that seeks to impose a higher standard on motor vehicle manufacturers 
will generally not be preempted. However, if and when such a conflict 
does exist--for example, when the standard at issue is both a minimum 
and a maximum standard--the State common law tort cause of action is 
impliedly preempted. See Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 
861 (2000).
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13132, NHTSA has considered whether 
this rule could or should preempt State common law causes of action. 
The agency's ability to announce its conclusion regarding the 
preemptive effect of one of its rules reduces the likelihood that 
preemption will be an issue in any subsequent tort litigation.
    To this end, the agency has examined the nature (e.g., the language 
and structure of the regulatory text) and objectives of today's final 
rule and finds that this rule, like many NHTSA rules, prescribes only a 
minimum safety standard. Accordingly, NHTSA does not intend that this 
final rule preempt state tort law that would effectively impose a 
higher standard on motor vehicle manufacturers than that established by 
today's final rule. Establishment of a higher standard by means of 
State tort law would not conflict with the minimum standard established 
in this document. Without any conflict, there could not be any implied 
preemption of a State common law tort cause of action.
    NHTSA solicited comments from the States and other interested 
parties on this assessment of issues relevant to E.O. 13132 in the 
NPRM. However, we did not receive any comments with regard to this 
issue.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    When promulgating a regulation, Executive Order 12988 specifically 
requires that the agency must make every reasonable effort to ensure 
that the regulation, as appropriate: (1) Specifies in clear language 
the preemptive effect; (2) specifies in clear language the effect on 
existing Federal law or regulation, including all provisions repealed, 
circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified; (3) provides a clear 
legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, 
while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) specifies in 
clear language the retroactive effect; (5) specifies whether 
administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file 
suit in court; (6) explicitly or implicitly defines key terms; and (7) 
addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general 
draftsmanship of regulations.
    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive 
effect of this final rule is discussed above in connection with 
Executive Order 13132. NHTSA notes further that there is no requirement 
that individuals submit a petition for reconsideration or pursue other 
administrative proceeding before they may file suit in court.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children From Environmental Health 
and Safety Risks)

    Executive Order 13045, ``Protection of Children from Environmental 
Health and Safety Risks,'' (62 FR 19885; April 23, 1997) applies to any 
proposed or final rule that: (1) Is determined to be ``economically 
significant,'' as defined in Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an 
environmental health or safety risk that NHTSA has reason to believe 
may have a disproportionate effect on children. If a rule meets both 
criteria, the agency must evaluate the environmental health or safety 
effects of the rule on children, and explain why the rule is preferable 
to other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives 
considered by the agency. This final rule is not subject to Executive 
Order 13045 because it is not economically significant.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104-113), ``all Federal agencies and departments shall 
use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary 
consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means 
to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies 
and departments.'' Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the Society of Automotive 
Engineers (SAE). The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, 
explanations when we decide not to use available and applicable 
voluntary consensus standards.
    Pursuant to the above requirements, the agency conducted a review 
of voluntary consensus standards to determine if any were applicable to 
this final rule. For the specific provisions that we are adjusting in 
this rule, there were no applicable consensus standards.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to 
prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects 
of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to 
result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector, of

[[Page 8196]]

more than $100 million annually (adjusted for inflation with base year 
of 1995). We note that as this final rule only makes minor adjustments 
and clarifications to FMVSS No. 141. Thus, it would not result in 
expenditures by any of the aforementioned entities of over $100 million 
annually.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that 
implementation of this action would not have any significant impact on 
the quality of the human environment. NHTSA has also determined that 
the changes in this final rule would not change the findings in the 
Final Environmental Assessment prepared in connection with the final 
rule.\26\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ The Final EA is available in Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0100 at 
http://www.regulations.gov.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not 
required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency 
unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. While this 
final rule adjusts the timing of the phase-in reporting requirements to 
match the manufacturer's production year (i.e., to align the 
requirement with other potential phase-in reports that the manufacturer 
may need to produce), it includes no new collection of information 
because the actual reporting requirements are the same as the 
requirements in the April 2014 final rule.

Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may 
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document 
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Incorporation by reference, Motor vehicle safety, 
Reporting and recordkeeping, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends 49 CFR part 571 as 
follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 571 of title 49 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.


0
2. Amend Sec.  571.141 by adding a definition for ``trim level'' in 
paragraph S4, and revising paragraphs S5.5.1, S5.5.2, S7.1, S7.1.5 
introductory text, S7.1.5(d) introductory text, S7.1.5(d)(ii), 
S7.1.5(e), S7.1.6 introductory text, S7.1.6(d) introductory text, 
S7.1.6(d)(ii), S7.1.6(e), S7.2, S7.3.5 introductory text, S7.3.5(d) 
introductory text, S7.3.5(e), and S7.3.6, S7.4, S7.5, S8, and S9 to 
read as follows:


Sec.  571.141   Standard No. 141; Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid 
and Electric Vehicles.

* * * * *
    S4 * * *
    ``Trim level'' is defined to mean a subset of vehicles within the 
same model designation with the same body type and which are alike in 
their general level of standard equipment, such as a ``base'' trim 
level of a vehicle model. Vehicles with only minor trim differences 
that are unlikely to affect vehicle-emitted sound are not considered 
different for the purposes of this safety standard.
* * * * *
    S5.5 * * *
    S5.5.1 Any two vehicles of the same make, model, model year, body 
type, and trim level (as those terms are defined in 49 CFR 565.12 or in 
section S4 of this safety standard) to which this safety standard 
applies shall be designed to have the same pedestrian alert sound when 
operating under the same test conditions and at the same speed 
including any test conditions and speeds for which an alert sound is 
required in Section S5 of this safety standard.
    S5.5.2 For the purposes of this requirement, the pedestrian alert 
sound of vehicles which meet the applicable requirements in S5.1 
through S5.4 of this standard are deemed to be the same if the digital 
source of the sound, if any, is the same and if the algorithms that 
either generate the sound directly or process the digital source to 
generate the sound are the same.
* * * * *
    S7.1 Stationary vehicle in forward gear.
* * * * *
    S7.1.5 Select one-third octave bands to be used for evaluating 
compliance with detection requirements for a stationary vehicle.
* * * * *
    (d) For alerts designed to meet the four-band requirements of S5.1 
of this standard:
* * * * *
    (ii) Compare the average corrected sound pressure level from 
S7.1.5(c) in each of the four one-third octave bands selected in 
paragraph S7.1.5(d)(i) to the required minimum level of the 
corresponding one-third octave band specified in paragraph S5.1.1, 
Table 1, to determine compliance.
    (e) For alerts designed to meet the two-band requirements of S5.2 
of this standard:
    (i) Select the two one-third octave bands, one below 1000 Hz and 
one at or above 1000 Hz, having the largest A-weighted SPL values 
within the range of 315 Hz up to 3150 Hz and that are non-adjacent to 
each other to evaluate according to S7.1.5(e)(ii), below. In the event 
that the pair of bands with the largest SPL values are the 800 Hz and 
1000 Hz bands, then select both of the following pairs to evaluate 
according S7.1.5(e)(ii): The 800 Hz band along with the band having the 
second-largest A-weighted SPL value from the 1000 Hz and above bands; 
and, the 1000 Hz band along with the band having the second-largest A-
weighted SPL value from the 800 Hz and below bands. At least one of the 
band pairs selected as specified in this paragraph shall meet the 
minimum requirements when evaluated according to S7.1.5(e)(ii).
    (ii) Compare the average corrected sound pressure level from 
S7.1.5(c) in each of the two one-third octave bands selected in 
paragraph S7.1.5(e)(i) to the required minimum level of the 
corresponding one-third octave band specified in paragraph S5.2, Table 
6. Also, compare the band sum of the two bands to the required minimum 
band sum in Table 6.
    S7.1.6 Select one-third octave bands to be used for evaluating 
compliance with directivity requirements for a stationary vehicle.
* * * * *
    (d) For alerts designed to meet the four-band requirements of S5.1 
of this standard:
* * * * *
    (ii) Compare the average corrected sound pressure level from 
S7.1.6(c) in each of the four one-third octave bands selected in 
paragraph S7.1.6(d)(i) to the required minimum level of the 
corresponding one-third octave band specified in paragraph S5.1.1, 
Table 1, to determine compliance.

[[Page 8197]]

    (e) For alerts designed to meet the two-band requirements of S5.2 
of this standard:
    (i) Select the two one-third octave bands, one below 1000 Hz and 
one at or above 1000 Hz, having the largest A-weighted SPL values 
within the range of 315 Hz up to 3150 Hz and that are non-adjacent to 
each other to evaluate according to S7.1.6(e)(ii), below. In the event 
that the pair of bands with the largest SPL values are the 800 Hz and 
1000 Hz bands, then select both of the following pairs to evaluate 
according S7.1.6(e)(ii): The 800 Hz band along with the band having the 
second-largest A-weighted SPL value from the 1000 Hz and above bands; 
and, the 1000 Hz band along with the band having the second-largest A-
weighted SPL value from the 800 Hz and below bands. At least one of the 
band pairs selected as specified in this paragraph shall meet the 
minimum requirements when evaluated according to S7.1.6(e)(ii), below.
    (ii) Compare the average corrected sound pressure level from 
S7.1.6(c) in each of the two one-third octave bands selected in 
paragraph S7.1.6(e)(i) to the required minimum level of the 
corresponding one-third octave band specified in paragraph S5.2, Table 
6. Also, compare the band sum of the two bands to the required minimum 
band sum in Table 6.
    S7.2 Stationary vehicle in reverse gear. Test the vehicle per 
S7.1.1 through S7.1.5 except that the rear plane of the vehicle is 
placed on the PP' line, no center microphone is used, and the vehicle's 
transmission gear selector is placed in the `Reverse' position. The 
minimum sound level requirements for the Reverse test condition are 
contained in S5.1.2, Table 2, for four-band compliance and in S5.2, 
Table 6, for two-band compliance.
* * * * *
    S7.3.5 Select one-third octave bands to be used for evaluating 
compliance with the constant speed pass-by requirements.
* * * * *
    (d) For alerts designed to meet the four-band requirements of S5.1 
of this standard:
* * * * *
    (e) For alerts designed to meet the two-band requirements of S5.2 
of this standard:
    (i) Select the two one-third octave bands, one below 1000 Hz and 
one at or above 1000 Hz, having the largest A-weighted SPL values 
within the range of 315 Hz up to 3150 Hz and that are non-adjacent to 
each other to evaluate according to S7.3.5(e)(ii), below. In the event 
that the pair of bands with the largest SPL values are the 800 Hz and 
1000 Hz bands, then select both of the following pairs to evaluate 
according S7.3.5(e)(ii): The 800 Hz band along with the band having the 
second-largest A-weighted SPL value from the 1000 Hz and above bands; 
and, the 1000 Hz band along with the band having the second-largest A-
weighted SPL value from the 800 Hz and below bands. At least one of the 
band pairs selected as specified in this paragraph shall meet the 
minimum requirements when evaluated according to S7.3.5(e)(ii), below.
    (ii) Compare the average corrected sound pressure level from 
S7.3.5(c) in each of the two one-third octave bands selected in 
paragraph S7.3.5(e)(i) to the required minimum level of the 
corresponding one-third octave band specified in paragraph S5.2, Table 
6. Also, compare the band sum of the two bands to the required minimum 
band sum in Table 6.
    S7.3.6 The procedures in S7.3.1 through S7.3.5 may be repeated for 
any pass-by test speed greater than 0 km/h and less than 20 km/h. For 
test speeds greater than 0 km/h and less than 10 km/h, the minimum 
sound level requirements are contained in S5.1.1, Table 1, for four-
band compliance and in S5.2, Table 6, for two-band compliance. For test 
speeds greater than or equal to 10 km/h and less than 20 km/h, the 
minimum sound level requirements are contained in S5.1.3, Table 3, for 
4-band compliance and in S5.2, Table 6, for 2-band compliance.
    S7.4 Pass-by tests at speeds greater than or equal to 20 km/h and 
less than 30 km/h. Repeat the procedures of S7.3 at 21 km/h  1 km/h. The procedures in S7.3 also may be repeated for any 
pass-by test speed greater than 20 km/h and less than 30 km/h. For this 
range of test speeds, the minimum sound level requirements are 
contained in S5.1.4, Table 4, for four-band compliance and in S5.2, 
Table 6, for two-band compliance.
    S7.5 Pass-by tests at 30 km/h. Repeat the procedures of S7.3 at 31 
km/h  1 km/h. For this test speed, the minimum sound level 
requirements are contained in S5.1.5, Table 5, for four-band compliance 
and in S5.2, Table 6, for two-band compliance.
* * * * *
    S8 Prohibition on altering the sound of a vehicle subject to this 
standard. No entity subject to the authority of the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration may:
    (a) Disable, alter, replace, or modify any element of a vehicle 
installed as original equipment for purposes of complying with this 
Standard, except in connection with a repair of a vehicle malfunction 
or to remedy a defect or non-compliance; or
    (b) Provide any person with any mechanism, equipment, process, or 
device intended to disable, alter, replace, or modify the sound 
emitting capability of a vehicle subject to this standard, except in 
connection with a repair of vehicle malfunction or to remedy a defect 
or non-compliance.
    S9 Phase-in schedule.
    S9.1 Hybrid and Electric Vehicles manufactured on or after 
September 1, 2019, and before September 1, 2020. For hybrid and 
electric vehicles to which this standard applies manufactured on and 
after September 1, 2019, and before September 1, 2020, except vehicles 
produced by small volume manufacturers, the quantity of hybrid and 
electric vehicles complying with this safety standard shall be not less 
than 50 percent of one or both of the following:
    (a) A manufacturer's average annual production of hybrid and 
electric vehicles on and after September 1, 2016, and before September 
1, 2019;
    (b) A manufacturer's total production of hybrid and electric 
vehicles on and after September 1, 2019, and before September 1, 2020.
    S9.2 Hybrid and Electric Vehicles manufactured on or after 
September 1, 2020. All hybrid and electric vehicles to which this 
standard applies manufactured on and after September 1, 2020, shall 
comply with this safety standard.

PART 585--PHASE-IN REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

0
3. The authority citation for Part 585 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95


0
4. Revise Sec.  585.130 to read as follows:


Sec.  585.130  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to manufacturers of hybrid and electric 
passenger cars, trucks, buses, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and 
low-speed vehicles subject to the phase-in requirements of Sec.  
571.141, S9.1 Hybrid and Electric Vehicles manufactured on or after 
September 1, 2019, and before September 1, 2020.

0
5. Revise Sec.  585.132 to read as follows:


Sec.  585.132  Response to inquiries.

    At any time during the production year ending August 31, 2019, each 
manufacturer shall, upon request from the Office of Vehicle Safety 
Compliance, provide information identifying the

[[Page 8198]]

vehicles (by make, model and vehicle identification number) that have 
been certified as complying with the requirements of Standard No. 141, 
Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (49 CFR 
571.141). The manufacturer's designation of a vehicle as a certified 
vehicle is irrevocable.

0
6. In Sec.  585.133, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  585.133  Reporting requirements.

    (a) Phase-in reporting requirements. Within 60 days after the end 
of the production year ending August 31, 2019, each manufacturer shall 
submit a report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
concerning its compliance with the requirements of Standard No. 141 
Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (49 CFR 
571.141) for its vehicles produced in that year. Each report shall 
provide the information specified in paragraph (b) of this section and 
in Sec.  585.2 of this part.
* * * * *

0
7. Revise Sec.  585.134 to read as follows:


Sec.  585.134   Records.

    Each manufacturer shall maintain records of the Vehicle 
Identification Number for each vehicle for which information is 
reported under Sec.  585.133 until December 31, 2024.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 
1.95 and 501.5.
Heidi R. King,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-03721 Filed 2-23-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P