Way back when my college buddy came up with some ideas he liked. One of them was a Engine Noise Generator that would make your VW bug sound like a dragster racer. The basic idea now makes more sense in light of the silent electrics. OK, OK, maybe not a dragster sound, but more along the line of a PUTT PUTT or electronically synthesized bubbly sound (ala Chitty Bang Bang) that clearly sets the electrics and hybrid apart from those nasty old combustion engines with high horsepower. Not only would it be different, but also maybe more acceptable than roaring engines.
I have a Honda Insight, and even when the gas engine is running people walking in parking lots don't seem to be aware of me. I want at least to be able to generate a loud throat-clearing sound...
Very interesting. I suppose that cost and complexity have been the issues that have prevented something similar from having been done before. The implementation appears to be very ingenious and a sample of some very good engineering.
A very nice solution to an emerging problem. Another acoustic problem associated with such vehicles is their silent operation when in pure electric mode when they may surprise (especially visually impaired) pedestrians. The hybrids will benefit from noise cancellation in reduced active cylinder modes and a little "introduced engine noise" as a warning they are approaching in the pure electric mode (a simple add-on).