If a hybrid or electric car rolls through the forest, does it make a sound? Well, it should

It’s almost eerie, that sci-fi, sonar-like sound that hybrids and electric vehicles emit at low speeds.

Because such vehicles have quiet powertrains, the sound is basically there to protect pedestrians. And, it’s the law.

Federal regulations for hybrids and electric vehicles go into effect Sept. 1, 2020. The initial compliance date for newly built vehicles under the 50-percent phase-in is Sept. 1.

Some 15 years ago, when hybrid electric cars were coming to market, they were highly touted for their fuel savings, pollution stinginess and the fact that they were essentially silent.

Then organizations such as the National Federation of the Blind discovered that less noise created a major safety issue for blind pedestrians. It was also an issue for sighted people as well, who tend to rely on sonic alerts to know where to look.