The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was supposed to begin reaching customers late in 2010, but a last-minute change prevented that from happening. The battery-packing Sonata was originally fitted with an on/off switch to disable the synthetic engine audio that would come on whenever the vehicle was being driven under electric power, but a forthcoming regulation changed that.
Hyundai ordered a last-minute change deleting the switchgear because of a bill passed by Congress (and later signed by President Obama) that made non-defeatable noise-making devices mandatory for hybrids and EVs. Automotive News reports that the ball is now in the court of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the agency plans to set a proper timetable in the next three years.
While the law banning the EV alert noise on/off switch will likely stop automakers from adding the switch in the future, we're thinking NHTSA should still act fast to come up with a date. The move would help automakers to know what they can and can't do, preventing more product delays in the future.