Oh So Quiet: The Hybrid's Silent!

carAt some point this afternoon, I have to return the Lincoln MKZ + Hybrid I've been driving since last Wednesday. I love this car, and believe Ford should let me keep it!

One thing that takes some time getting used to is how completely quiet the Lincoln Hybrid is. When you turn the ignition, your only clue that the car is on is a small green icon on the dashboard. There is no sound. It's completely silent.

Driving the Lincoln Hybrid is equally quiet. You don't hear the engine, and if you turn off the air conditioner and sound system, there is absolutely no noise. It's a little unsettling at first, but then you get used to it.

montreal 005

I hope my ears can handle it when I return to my '99 Mazda in a couple of hours.


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Comments (17 - click here to join in!)

James

I love the idea of a silent car. Unless I'm trying to cross the street down which it's driving. Then, it'd better damn well squeak or something. Just sayin'.

August 26, 2011 @ 3:50 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Question for Cheryl (who is blind for those who don't know):

Does the idea of a silent car make you nervous? I mean, is it dangerous in your opinion?

August 26, 2011 @ 3:53 PM

Cheryl

yes, a silent car would be dangerous. I would have no idea a car is coming. It wouldn't be good. I don't know what will happen if all cars become silent.

August 26, 2011 @ 4:43 PM

James

As someone else who's blind, Mike, yeah... dangerous would be a word for it. You know how you're in, we'll say, a wallmart parking lot and have to stop yourself from getting run over by the idiot pulling into a space behind you, or out of one, while you're trying to get to your vehicle? How do you think you do that if you're not looking right at the car while it's moving? That's our situation, 24/7. Car could blow by 5 feet in front of us and we wouldn't be any the wiser unless we were really, really paying attention about things like the sound of the wheels blowing by, but the car'd have to be doing a pretty good clip for that to be noticeable on any decent road. Which rules out most intersections, at least of the controled variety.

August 26, 2011 @ 4:49 PM

headsup

I'm all for helping the environment and saving money in the long run, but as a blindy I must say that such silent cars scare the hell out of me for obvious reasons. I'm sure there will be some sort of technology for us blind folks to use in the near future to alert us of such oncoming silent killer vehicles, but until then, please keep the windows down and the sound system up!

August 26, 2011 @ 11:40 PM

Cheryl

Yes, windows down and sound system up. That's the way to go. I'm very worried about what would happen if these silent cars were really popular. There has to be a way to detect them. I know, I hated it when people turned their car radios up. It would force me to listen to their loud music. Well, maybe I would like the sound system to be turned up. Go Habs. Bring on hockey.

August 27, 2011 @ 7:45 AM

Steve

Another blind guy here.

Yes, silent cars scare the hell out of me. When walking around, car noise is all we have. It's all that separates us from the front end of your vehicle. We rely on that noise in parking lots, driveways, streets, you name it. My girlfriend almost got buzzed by one of those things while learning a route once. Only reason she had a clue it happened was the person teaching her mentioned it after the fact. That'll put the fear of God into anybody. Makes it seem real, not just like something we'll eventually have to worry about.

I know governments are working on making noise mandatory, which is good. I just hope they're smart enough not to allow cute noises that could easily be mistaken for something else. I hold out little hope that this will be the case. I'm sure we'll all have to start listening for wind chimes and crap before it's all said and done. I want my cars to sound like cars, my trucks like trucks and my buses like buses. My perceptions should be realities, after all. I have as much right to know what the negligent fool who's about to run me down is driving as the rest of you.

August 27, 2011 @ 9:24 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I just realized all my readers are blind! :)

August 27, 2011 @ 11:46 AM

Steve

We are, and we love the new logo.

August 27, 2011 @ 2:50 PM

Pete

I love my 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid. The fact that is is very quiet is great! They are by no means silent. I just replaced the tires and got Nokian's, environmentally friendly and they make it even more quiet, again, not silent.

The biggest issue I have had has been people in parking lots, they don't look were they are going, they don't care, people treat parking lots like they are sidewalks. I drive extra cautiously in parking lots when on battery for that reason.

I think drivers and pedestrians need to be more aware of their surroundings regardless of battery or fossil fuel vehicles.

As far as sighted and non-sighted goes, I have zero experience. I understand the concerns of those expressed here, but at the same time, I would be very bummed out if the government mandated noise makers for quiet cars like they did in the US.

--Pete

August 28, 2011 @ 2:06 PM

James

I suspect you'd be even more bummed out if you ended up hitting me because I thought the street was actually, y'know, clear of trafick. Particularly if I got up again.

August 28, 2011 @ 3:20 PM

Steve

Sorry to mess up your day with our need for noise, Pete. Yes, I said need. Noise is not a want, not a would like to have. In order for blind people to be independent, we need to know what's coming at us. Quiet electric/hybrid cars have the potential to set us back by literally a century, no joke. If situations were reversed, there's no way you'd stand for your independence being ripped away from you without saying a word about it and you know it. And you know what? You shouldn't. Nobody should have to put up with that, which is why we, as whatever sort of community we are, are choosing not to. People need to be aware of how important this actually is. You might take crossing the street or walking a few blocks to the store for granted, but what if every trip out was a brush with death? That'd kinda suck, no? That's what we're dealing with here. So if one of us says something to the effect of screw you and your quiet car, that's where we're coming from. Quiet cars vs. loud enough to hear ones is honestly the difference between freedom and not. It sounds dramatic, but it's the god's honest truth.

August 28, 2011 @ 7:53 PM

Rick C in Oakville

My Prius is almost silent except when the engine turns on while travelling. I am always 100% more attentive when driving this car in a parking lot, just being attentive (and the defensive driving skills taught to me 30+ years ago at Young Drivers)for pedestrians is the right thing to do. You just have to be prepared for inattentive people, just as cyclists are almost silent and can run into you just as easily.

August 28, 2011 @ 10:38 PM

James

@Rick: I'm going to state the obvious here, okay? You can't be prepared for something you have no idea is there, or is moving. For every Rick out there who's actually putting his defensive driving skills to decent use, there's at least 2 morons out there who aren't looking where they're going. They won't see us, we can't see them. Only one of us can correct that small problem, and well, it ain't me.

August 29, 2011 @ 12:29 AM

CQ

I just realized that I spent the month publicly defending Henry Ford's legacy (see here: http://thestar.blogs.com/davidolive/2011/08/uh-no.html ) and also David Thomson (http://thestar.blogs.com/davidolive/2011/08/toronto-the-boring-.html ) and this city's cultural history...
And YOU got a luxury ride! Maybe I guess, they've read my other blogging 'rants'. But not against the Ford Motor Co. or any of the other fine, fine, auto makers.

August 29, 2011 @ 9:06 AM

Cheryl

Well, this is it. We can't see things. We can't see a car coming and if the car is quiet, a blind person can't hear it. It's not a matter of wanting noise, we need it so we know a car is coming. I wonder when it will be all these quiet cars and no more noisy cars left.

August 29, 2011 @ 4:45 PM

Pete

Wow,

What a bunch of whiny over reactors.

Not once did I deny any of you your need for audible feedback so you can cross the street. I simply admitted that I had no experience with the issues of the blind when it comes to "hearing" cars and simply expressed my feelings should my pleasure of a quiet drive be gone.

Not that I would rally against it or petition the government to stop it, just that I would be "bummed".

You all need to relax. Especially you James, it was nice of you to go for the implied violence when you didn't even take the time to read or understand what was written.

--Pete

August 29, 2011 @ 11:20 PM

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