Sound Generators for Quiet Hybrids
As a result, the country’s government is currently reviewing a proposal to require a sound-making system that would allow residents to spot a hybrid car in the adjacent perimeter.
"We have received opinions from automobile users and vision-impaired people that they feel hybrid vehicles are dangerous," a transport ministry official said according to AFP. "Blind people depend on sounds when they walk, but there are no engine sounds from hybrid vehicles when running at low speed."
The government is discussing with vision-impaired groups, consumers, police and hybrid manufacturer to find a solution on the matter and decide how possible the implementation of sound generations on future models would become.
"They decided to consider introducing a sound-making function,” the official added. "On the other hand, we should pay attention to residents (along roads) as hybrids are excellent in reducing noise.”
Japan is one of the largest automotive markets when it comes to hybrid models, with Toyota and Honda often referred to as two of the top players in this particular sector of the industry. Their models, the Prius and the Insight respectively, are posting very high sales in most markets, with their parent companies working on a bunch of new models based on the two hybrids.
Toyota for instance is looking to develop a cheaper hybrid that would rely on a similar powertrain with the one of the Prius but with less features.