• 2011 Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid hatchback, road test, June 2011

    You may or may not be happy to know that the new 2012 Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid hatchback will come with a new feature not found on the 2011 model. It will make more noise. For 2012, in addition to an optional F Sport package and a new color (Nebula Gray Pearl replaces Smoky Granite Mica, if you're keeping track), the CT 200h hybrid is fitted with what Lexus calls a "Vehicle Proximity Notification System." That's a noisemaker that switches on to emit "a low audible warning sound" whenever the hybrid runs in all-electric mode. The ostensible goal is to help "alert pedestrians and cyclists...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    Pedestrian Alert Noises Coming To Hybrid And Electric Cars, Needed Or Not

    If you like the idea of hybrid or electric cars that whir silently down the road without the noise of an engine exploding gasoline thousands of times each minute, you'd better act fast. The U.S. government is moving inexorably toward a rule requiring all hybrid and electric cars to make noise...

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf
    2011 Nissan Leaf Generates Constant Buzz: Musicians Beware!

    The Leaf generates massively more and constant high frequency sound feedback

  • 2012 Ford Focus Electric at 2011 Geneva Motor Show, photo by Robert Llewellyn
    Ford To Facebook Fans: “How Should The 2012 Focus Electric Sound?”

    The days of the almost silent electric car are gone. Motivated by a severe case of liticaphobia - or the fear of lawsuits - the auto industry has already agreed that electric cars should have some form of audible warning system fitted as standard to alert pedestrians of their approach. But while...

  • Lotus Safe & Sound noisemaker
    Ding-Ding-Ding! Electric Cars Likely To Be Made Noisier By Law

    In one particularly hilarious scene in the TV show Weeds, Mary-Louise Parker’s soccer mom/drug dealer character inspires a scary drug lord to buy several Toyota Priuses after he successfully carries out a drive-by shooting while riding in hers. The selling point? The quietness of the hybrid...

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
    Making Silent Electric Cars Noisier: 3 Carmakers, 3 Sounds

    It looks like carmakers are going to make their quiet, electrically powered cars a lot noisier. And that's going to happen regardless of whether there's any actual data to support the notion that electric cars are so silent they pose a hazard to blind pedestrians. As of now, three different...

  • The Jetsons Car

    When EV fans were told that manufacturers would have to fit noise generators to warn pedestrians of impending danger, they heaved a collective sigh of disappointment. One of the electric car's biggest unique selling points, that of near silent travel, had been taken away. Except that it hadn't. Demonstrations of the 2011 Nissan Leaf's Blade Runner-esque whoosh that was inaudible from inside the car proved that for driver and passengers at least, EV travel would still be as silent as they'd hoped. It wasn't too long before people started speculating on the option to customise the sound your EV...

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