Hybrid creep to become hybrid whirr

The Toyota Prius has changed the car industry. Quietly.

At low speeds, you can barely hear the car. That's about to change for Japanese drivers.  Starting August 30, customers can buy a speaker system that will help get rid of "hybrid creep."  The system will go under the hood and make a whirring sound that's as loud as the sound of a regular engine.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came out with a report that found pedestrians are twice as likely to get hit by a Prius than a car with a conventional engine in a low-speed collision. 

It's not clear yet whether Toyota will offer this system overseas.  Other carmakers are also trying to figure out how to make sure their quiet, green cars will be safe as well.

Customers look at a Toyota Prius vehicle at Toyota Motor's showroom in Tokyo on August 4, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO

About the author

Larissa Anderson is a producer for the Marketplace Tech Report and she also produces Minnesota Public Radio’s Wits.

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