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Infiniti making noise about its new M35 hybrid

Fri, 19 Nov 2010

Infiniti has just announced that its new M35h will be the world's first hybrid with a standard audible pedestrian warning system to alert pedestrians when the car is running silently on EV mode.

Infiniti calls the system VSP, or 'Approaching vehicle sound for pedestrians'. It uses a range of distinctive sounds to alert pedestrians via a speaker built in to the front bumper.   

Instead of reproducing the sound of an internal combustion engine, the Infiniti produces a range of beeps.

What, no soundtrack of a V12 supercar having its neck wrung at 8000rpm? Infiniti would seem to prefer a little more sophistication than this.

Its research suggests rather dull-sounding beeps were the most effective yet least intrusive noise. We just hope it doesn't sound too much like a dustbin lorry reversing.

When starting up, the system is at its loudest to give a clear indication to pedestrians that you're begining to move off. There's an intermittent tone sounded when reversing.

On the move, the sound stops after the M35h reaches 18mph - even though in electric-only mode the M35h can reach near 50mph.

Infiniti's logic? It's concluded that above around 20mph the M35h will generate sufficient road noise to be audible to pedistrians.

We're not so sure; would you really trust your typical six-year-old to detect an EV's tyre rumble before running out in to the road?

The new Infiniti M35h is scheduled to go on sale in May 2011, with pricing to be announced nearer the time.

By RobTyler