Ridley Scott's "Spinners" Still InspireAfter spending decades trying to make cars quieter, engineers are not faced with the opposite problem; electric cars (and hybrids when they run in electric mode) can be very quiet, leading to safety concerns (more on that below). Nissan's sound engineers are currently working on the Leaf EV, and they announced something that movie geeks are sure to appreciate...
Freedom to Design a Sound for Electric CarsBloomberg writes: "Toshiyuki Tabata spent 30 years as a Nissan Motor Co. engineer trying to make gasoline-powered cars quieter. Now he's consulting music composers to make electric cars noisier -- and safer. [...] The company consulted Japanese composers of film scores. What Tabata and his six-member team came up with is a high- pitched sound reminiscent of the flying cars in 'Blade Runner,' the 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott portraying his dystopian vision of 2019."
But they're smart about it. This sound system would only be turned on when the car is moving below 12 miles per hour (20 kph). Above that speed, tire noise is high enough to make it safe (indeed, even with gasoline cars, most of the noise you hear except when someone is revving the engine comes from the tires).
Leasing the Battery PackSpeaking of the Nissan Leaf electric car, Le Journal du Dimanche reports (via AutoblogGreen) that Nissan is thinking of leasing the battery packs for the Leaf for around €100/month (around $150).
This could reduce the worry about batteries and increase the number of early adopters. It could also mean upgrading your car's battery to a more advanced model that stores more power once your lease is up, extending the range of your electric car.