“New and unusual” is how Audi will approach the project of artificial noise for electric vehicles. Audi said that it will “work on the basis of the familiar sound of a combustion engine.” The company has cited links with the Audi RSQ from the Hollywood film, 'I, Robot'. Audi is the latest carmaker to work on artificial noise for EVs.
Making EVs audible to pedestrians is being done for safety. Ralf Kunkel, the acoustics boss at Audi, said, “We speak of quiet cars when an electric car is driven at a speed between 0 – 25 km/h (16 mph)."
Audi is seeking to bridge the audible gap to 16mph, which it is currently developing for its range of e-tron concepts. Toyota's car dealerships in Japan have already unveiled an 'approaching vehicle audible system'.
It emits the synthesized sound of an electric motor and it has a pitch that rises and falls depending on the oncoming speed of the car. Nissan, as well, is working on a similar system for its electric Leaf.
“The obvious approach would be to work on the basis of the familiar sound of a combustion engine,” says Christian Schüller, Head of Brand Development/Corporate Identity.
“On the other hand, we want to underscore that an electric or hybrid Audi is an innovative product. We also want to make our Vorsprung durch Technik audible in the era of electric mobility.”