Carmakers looking at giving their electric cars futuristic sounds

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 11, 2010

Automakers are considering giving their electric cars futuristic sounds, to eradicate the risk of hitting people who cannot hear them coming. EVs, unlike diesel or gasoline cars, are nearly silent when they start and increase to cruising speeds.

Organizations for the blind and pedestrian safety lobbyists are calling for legislation to ensure EVs are given a distinct sound that can be heard by people outside the car. Audi’s acoustic specialists are working on a futuristic engine note for its electric cars. These experts seek inspiration from science fiction.

Audi is developing electric cars that will be sold under the E-tron badge. Audi’s head of brand development, Christian Schueller, said the German premium brand wants to dispense with the familiar sound of a combustion engine as it wants to emphasize that a hybrid or electric Audi is an innovative product.

Nissan’s Leaf battery-powered compact hatchback gives off a noise that is part monorail and a small jet plane.

The U.S.-based National Federal for the Blind and the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology assisted in the development of the sound.

The Detroit Institute of Technology helped set the final specifications. Tom F. Smith, the Leaf’s chief marketing manager, told Automotive News Europe that the development of such devices is still at its very early stages. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: electric car

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