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Prius set to make itself heard


01/09/2010

Prius set to make itself heardToyota's Prius has, over the years, quietly got on with the job of becoming the number one choice for those looking for a hybrid car. However, it seems that on one level, it's been a little too quiet for its own good

It appears that the part-electric and part-petrol engine is just too quiet. Pedestrians have been complaining that they can't hear the car approaching, and with a US government agency report revealing that hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to involved in accidents with pedestrians at low speeds than cars with entirely conventional engines, it's a problem that, with hybrids raising in popularity, looks set to become much bigger if action is not taken.

Toyota have therefore created a humming device that will be installed under the bonnet of third generation models, emitting a sound very similar to normal engines so that it doesn't annoy those around it. It will initially only be available in Japan, but Toyota is looking into bringing it to the US and other overseas markets.

Using the speaker system will be entirely optional and owners will have to pay extra for installation charges - and with the kit costing 12,600 yen (around £96), it will be interesting to see how popular the device becomes before making its way to the West.

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