With recent news that Toyota hybrid sales have topped 1 million in Japan, it’s no surprise to hear that the award-winning Prius is still making plenty of noise in the media. But now it’s for an entirely different reason…
As a full hybrid, Prius is incredibly quiet when running on electric power alone. Toyota Motor Corporation has announced the launch of the Approaching Vehicle Audible System, which is designed to alert pedestrians when a Prius is being driven nearby at low speeds.
The on-board device automatically emits a synthesised sound of an electric motor when the Prius is operating in EV mode at speeds up to approximately 25km/h (15.5mph). So what does it sound like? Even if your Japanese isn’t very good, you can find out by clicking on the video below:
The system is designed so that the sound rises and falls in pitch relative to the vehicle’s speed in order to help indicate the car’s proximity and movement. Only available for third-generation Prius in Japan, the system has been developed to meet the country’s new Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism guidelines for hybrid and other near-silent vehicles. Toyota is not currently planning to introduce the system to other countries.