While thinking of words to describe the Toyota Prius, ninja-like and stealthy may not be the first to come to mind, but Toyota might disagree. Cnet is reporting that the hybrid car will soon offer a $148 speaker that will play sounds that simulate the “same noise level as a regular car engine.”
For those that have never been stalked by a Prius, when the car is running the electrical motor, the Prius is quiet. Apparently too quiet. Once the combustion engine takes over, the car sounds like any other, but when it is going slowly under electrical power, the car be quiet enough that some pedestrians may not hear it coming.
The Prius joins Nissan’s hybrid, the Leaf, which will be on sale in in the U.S. later this December. Both the Leaf and the Prius are adding the sounds in accordance with Japanese Ministry of Land standards, designed to protect pedestrians.
As of now, American ninjas and Pennsylvania paper salesmen at Dunder Mifflin seeking revenge that own a Priuses can relax, as the speakers will only be sold in Japan, and are a voluntary add-on. Toyota is however, considering exporting the speakers to the U.S. and elsewhere.