Hybrids contribute to the luxury of silence

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids

Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are a few observations from the launch of Lexus’s latest hybrid, the CT200h, which would equally apply to electric cars.

Hybrids await at Lexus CT200h press launch near Paris

Picture the scene: a sumptuous hotel set in forested hills, pleasantly removed from the city bustle of Paris. A serene calmness accompanies this hilltop location belying it’s proximity to both Charles De Gaulle airport and the main autoroute to Lille. A semicircular arrangement of gleaming cars awaits journalists eager to sample Lexus’s latest mini-limousines. Above the twitter of birds you can hear the pleasant banter of scribes and their hosts exchanging technobabble worthy of a sub-atomic particle convention. But wait; there’s something missing. Where’s the coughing of combustion engines waking from their slumber? Where’s the thrum of jockeys blipping their mount’s throttles ready for the off? Where’s the distant scream of engines being let loose once released from the gaze of the PR’s and speed bumps of the hotel drive? Answer: these CT200h’s are hybrids, with electric motors to manoeuvre and assist departure and with them comes an intoxicating calm.

Silence is golden: well red, white, brown, grey and golden...

Luxury is a term you’d automatically associate with the silence of, say, riding in a Rolls-Royce or lounging on a remote atoll. External silence is a sensation you’ll have to get used to appreciating with the spread of hybrids and electric cars. That silence brings with it unexpected benefits: people are calmer, mix more easily, stay more human. Instead of the rush to grab a car, race the throttle and disappear into the distance, journalists are exploring the cars in detail, taking notes, photographing every inch, it’s even quiet enough for the videos crews to record interviews: they almost seem reluctant to get going! Now imagine town centres. The effect of running quiet cars would be as much of a revolution as the widespread introduction of pedestrian zones.

hybrid environment quiet enough to video

But back to the real world; a taxi turns up. Modern and quiet by diesel standards, it hovers menacingly by the hotel entrance. Its clatter penetrating and irritating. We want it to leave, how dare it spoil our quiet zone. Yet this is nothing compared to the sequenced explosions of the delivery lorry that wants to interrupt our ocean of calm. Don’t get us wrong though, there’s nothing like the occasional roar of a pedigree V8 to stimulate our emotions or the wail of an F1 engine at the track to pump adrenaline around the system. Losing the mundane clatter of lesser combustion engines would be heaven. The world has a chance to change and return life to humans without robbing them of their prized personal transport.

Fleet of Lexus RX400h join CT200h lineup

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