Car talk

Heavy sighs optional: Automakers are equipping electric cars like the Nissan Leaf with sound effects that kick in when the vehicles are driven at low speeds, so that people can hear them coming (Page A6).

The Buzz thinks that instead of the electronic vroom-vroom currently being used, the e-cars should announce, in the voice of Al Gore, “Here I come, not changing the climate!”

Optional pop top? Ford soon will introduce an all-aluminum version of its F-150 pickup truck, a giant gamble not unlike the all-composite Boeing 787 (Page A6).

There’s one exception: In their 3 a.m. moments, Ford execs don’t see mysterious battery fires. They see F-150s being crumpled like just-drained beer cans at a frat party.

Don’t know much about history: On this day in 1974, a date which will live in infamy as far as the “Top Gear” gents are concerned, President Richard Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles an hour (Today in History, Page A2).

The speed limit was gone by 1987, but certain contemporary cars still observe it — namely, electric ones, with their drivers hoping there’s enough juice to get them to the next charging station.

— Mark Carlson, Herald staff

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