As beneficial as electric vehicles and hybrids may be to the environment, their near-silent electric operation poses a danger to pedestrians devoid of sight or attention.; Lotus Engineering turned from wrenching on sports cars and focused on this problem, unveiling its "Safe & Sound" system.
While the engineers at Hethel love to rattle on about their system, the premise is this:; once a vehicle is running in an electric mode, a computer is turned on.; This computer calculates the car's speed, and creates a sound comparable to a gas-engined vehicle moving at the same velocity.
That sound is then amplified through a weatherproof speaker, mounted in the front grille, warning pedestrians of the car's presence.; Once the car comes to a halt or activates a combustion engine, the speaker switches off.
As gimmicky as the Safe & Sound system may seem, it could well be an important feature, especially as more countries look at mandating such systems for future hybrid or electric cars.