Tell us about your experiences with Marketplace. Enter To Win
Codebreaker

Hybrid creep to become hybrid whirr

Larissa Anderson Aug 24, 2010

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

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.