Electric cars have been accused of being too quiet, and posing a risk to the vision impaired, and prompting the Japanese government to review whether to add a noise making device.
Hybrid vehicles make very little noise when running on the batteries, and have become the country’s top selling cars in recent months. A new, cheaper Toyota prius has only been on sale since May, and already received over 200,000 orders, fast becoming the bestselling car on the domestic market.
The ministry of transport has launched a panel of scholars, vision impaired groups, consumers, police and car manufacturers to discuss how to get around this issue.
No decision has been made on what noise should be made, but they need to find a way to raise caution in those that rely on sound, while being fair to residents who live along roads. They’re expected to decide by the end of the year.
I think they should broadcast episodes of the Naked Scientists podcast, so it will be audible, entertaining and educational!