We've been hearing for the last few years that the near silent nature of hybrids and EVs is a potential safety problem for pedestrians, especially for children and those hard of hearing, and these so-called "car tones" are seen as a possible answer to this problem.
At this point, there isn't any real data that suggests these quiet cars are any more or less dangerous to pedestrians than any other two-ton behemoth rolling down the road, but its still an issue being looked at closely by automakers.
According to the New York Times, companies like BMW, Fisker and Nissan are currently working with Hollywood special-effects teams and the film industry on new sounds that could be downloaded to current and future electric cars. We want our first EV to sound like Darth Vader's TIE Fighter and the horn to grunt like Chewie. Why not?
[Source: New York Times | Photo: Flickr/robad0b via C.C. 2.0]