NEWS AND COMMENT: It appears that electric vehicles such as Tesla cars can present a danger to domestic cats and I’ll explain what I think this is about. The thought comes from Jamie Lynn, Britney Spears’ sister who in a now deleted video (on her Instagram page?) appears to blame Elon Musk’s Tesla car for killing two of cats. She said, “We have now lost – I don’t even want to tell you how many cats, because they don’t hear the Tesla crank and unfortunate things happen.”
Thought?: this might be a PR stunt to get her picture in the news. It sort of looks like that….It seems that she is referring to the noise that conventional-engined cars makes when they are started. And if a domestic cat is under the car they won’t know that the car is about to move and as a consequence they may be run over. Domestic cats do like to go under cars because they feel safe and they can observe from a safe position. Domestic cats also enjoy perching on the hood (bonnet in the UK) of a car with a conventional engine because it’s warm.
If Jamie Lynn means this, and I have to speculate because she’s a bit vague about it, I can understand the problem. Electric vehicles do start and move off completely silently. You get used to it but it is rather strange when you first drive these cars. Incidentally, I do have an electric car; a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid.
In the deleted video it is reported that Brittany’s younger sibling was quite adamant about blaming Elon Musk’s car for killing her cats when she said: “I know there is much bigger things going on in the world right now, but somebody’s gotta let Elon Musk know that the Tesla is a secret cat killer and it’s a problem that we really got to fix.”
She said that it would help if some software was added to the car so that it made a noise when it starts up to frighten cats away to stop them being caught offguard, “so that way they know something’s happening and it’s not caught offguard and things don’t end in a very tragic way. So Elon Musk let’s figure this out, you owe me a couple of cats.”
To add confusion to the story, she did admit that there was some ‘user error involved’. I’m not sure what this means. She may mean that she didn’t check under the car herself. That would be a simple solution. If you have an electric vehicle it might be wise to make it a habit to check under your car before you drive off if your cat is allowed outside.
She later went on to add the comment, “I did not run over any cats” and “Tesla is not to blame, and was never intended to be”. As I said, it’s somewhat confusing but it’s an interesting story about electric vehicles and domestic cats. However, it is a very sad one if cats were killed.
At one time there was a discussion about adding engine noises to electric vehicles in order to warn pedestrians and perhaps cyclists. There were fears that the quietness of electric vehicles may cause accidents. This has not happened. Electric vehicles do make a noise when moving because of road noise i.e. the noise that the tyres make when in contact with the road. As far as I know electric vehicles do not have any added software to make engine noises but I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.