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2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

While advocates have long heralded a reduction in noise pollution in addition to air pollution as advantages of electric vehicles, not everyone is convinced that silent cars are a good thing.

We use our senses to navigate through life and when one or more of them are diminished, we rely on the others. Such is the case for blind people who must use their hearing to make up for some visual deficit. Every automaker working on electrified vehicles is aware of this and researching what sorts of sounds those vehicles should make for safety reasons.

For instance, Nissan engineer Toshiyuki Tabata has spent his career making cars quieter, but is now working on the LEAF to have it create sound. No final decision has been made, but reports tell us that Nissan is currently leaning toward making the LEAF sound like the whining flying cars in the film Blade Runner.

[Source: Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Since it looks like a catfish, it should make that annoyed sound a catfish makes when you're trying get the hook out of its mouth. Also add some whiskers around the "mouth", for a bit of whimsy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have any of these engineers ever gone outside and listened to a car approaching them?

      Aside from muscle cars and rice rockets you don't hear the engine of an approaching car. You hear the wind and tire noise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Priuses have low rolling resistance tires that are very difficult to hear even without traffic noise. With traffic around, they're inaudible. I don't know what Hello Kitty sounds like, but that would probably be perfect for one of these catfish.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Stop calling them "Silent".

      Electric cars and Hybrids are not silent. They are less noisy than ICE powered cars, but both produce a significant amount of noise from tires, suspensions, non-engine drive components, & accessories.

      Even many ICE cars are about this quiet when curising along at low speeds such as in a residential neighborhood.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh... well there was a time when Nissan was content to just have Blade Runner's director make them a commercial. Some viewers report this advertisement actually made them want to shift_buy a car.

      • 5 Years Ago
      How stupid! 1 of the attractions (to the driver) IS the quiet!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Blade Runner is the most beautiful movie EVER,no question.
      And the soundtrack from Vangelis is a masterpiece.
      The problem is I don't see this car as good as the movie,it's another ugly condom lookin car
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed. If they want the sound from Blade Runner, it needs to at least look as good as the spinner.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You would be able to select your own sound like a ring tone. I want one that wounds like a 68 Chevelle SS. lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      That would be cool. I don't think I could ever stand a silent car like the Volt. I think that would make me so mad....mashing on the gas in an instance of fury and having no sound come out to complement my emotion :'(
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually its quite interesting. You can come to a stop in one of these hybrids away from other traffic and find your self hearing everything around you like the birds chirping or every drop of rain. It feels futuristic actually. If the Volt is quiet upto speed that could be an interesting sensation.

        Otherwise, if you want power, buy a retro muscle car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The main reason to "add noise" is that most other cars are ICE vehicles, producing large amounts of noise (relatively speaking). If most cars didn't have a traditional engine, the noise from an EV would be pretty easy to hear. The trouble is that distance ICE vehicles can easily drown out an EV for many people, even with the distinctive whine they have now.
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