Nissan Motor Co. says it will add sounds to the Leaf electric car to serve as a warning to pedestrians. The sounds are designed as a safety measure, given the fact that pure electric vehicles are nearly silent, even when they travel at fairly high speeds.
The Washington Post reports that Nissan explored more a hundred sounds ranging from chimes to artificial motor noises before settling on a soft whine that will increase with intensity as the car moves faster in forward gears. Nissan engineers reportedly have added a clanging sound to alert pedestrians when the vehicle backs up.
A Nissan statement explained the decision by saying, “While silence is golden, it does present practical challenges.”
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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