Quiet-List 1997

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RE: Road Noise

At the risk of thread drift, my understanding from an article I read a few 
years ago is that the future is not in all-electric automobiles but in 
"hypercars" which would combine lightweight construction with a combination 
gas-electric system. The gas motor would charge the batteries which would 
in turn drive the wheels. The braking system would transfer the momentum of 
the automobile into a flywheel, thus reducing the tremendous waste in 
energy involved in accelerating and decelerating a huge machine every few 

These little machines should reduce traffic noise a lot, because the gas 
motor will run at a constant speed or not at all, and doesn't need to be 
very powerful.


Perhaps an even more far-reaching solution would be to encourage and
promote conversion to electric cars?  They are virtually silent, in which
case, the tire and wind sounds are actually very useful.  For as far as
pedestrians and cyclists are concerned, a _silent_ car is considerably more
dangerous than a noisy one b/c YOU CAN'T HEAR IT COMING!!

What continues to astonish me is that every major auto manufacturer in
North America has a number of electric cars prototyped in their research
labs waiting to be sold.  They are simply waiting for significant consumer
demand and/or the government to order them to start promoting them
(something North American governments aren't ever likely to do).

Anyone know any automotive designers who could comment?

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