Last year we wrote about electric car manufacturers consulting with Hollywood to design fake engine sounds for the otherwise silent cars. A degree of noise is deemed necessary for pedestrian safety, particularly since these days more people seem to be crossing the street with their eyes glued to their cell phone text messages. Not to mention blind pedestrians, for whom sound is the only warning that a vehicle is approaching.
We had hoped this would usher in an innovative era of Priuses that sound like TIE Fighters and Honda Insights that sound like a herd of galloping horses, but alas, it seems early efforts have been bobbled. The Times reports that blind advocates are well disappointed with Nissan's Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians for their Leaf car, because it was inexplicably designed with an on-off switch, meaning a driver can willfully disable the safety feature.
As for the noises themselves, we find the choices slightly puzzling and less fun than we'd imagined: