Noisy hybrids


Hybrid cars are getting another update: “the roar of the traditional combustion engine". In The Independent this week, an article explained that Lotus was developing technology to make hybrid engines louder.

Really? More noise? I thought that was one of the perks of getting a hybrid car: an eco-friendly, noiseless ride to work. Not to mention reducing noise pollution in the streets – a wonderful positive externality to be enjoyed by others.

I know groups have come forth with complaints about the safety of blind and partially sighted pedestrians because they might not hear a hybrid car coming, but putting money and energy into developing noise when the time could be better spent on developing better efficiency is silly.

However, since there seems to be a demand for this sort of thing, I am not one to fight against the market. I was just looking forward to the day when the silent hybrid ruled the world and I didn’t hear every car that passed my bedroom window.