Prius hybrid will become a little less quiet with a new electronic humming device that is the automaker’s answer to complaints that pedestrians can’t hear the top-selling car approaching.
More exactly, Toyota will install a speaker system under the hood. With this 12,600 yen ($148) device Prius sets off a whirring sound designed to be about the same noise level as a regular car engine.
It goes on sale Aug. 30 in Japan, and owners pay extra for installation charges. Its use is voluntary.
According to Toyota, the hybrid gets good mileage but is also quiet because it runs as an electric car much of the time.
It’s compatible with the third-gen Prius, but will available for Toyota’s other hybrids and electric cars.
That advantage has drawn complaints that pedestrians, the blind in particular, are at greater risk of being hit by the car, especially at low speeds.