BMW to add artificial sounds to its electric vehicles

Article by Christian A., on January 5, 2011

It appears that German premium carmaker BMW has to make a big decision whether to add artificial sounds to its electric vehicles in order to make them safer and protect the pedestrians. According to our sources, BMW’s main rivals -- Audi and Mercedes-Benz – have already started to develop brand-specific sounds.

BMW spokesman Tobias Hahn confirmed the fact that the electric cars developed by the Bavarian manufacturer (MINI and BMW) are currently not carrying any active sound systems capable to add artificial noise at low speeds.

For those who don’t know, Bmw is already testing the MINI E electric vehicle in Europe, China and the United States, while the BMW ActiveE prototype based o the smaller 1-Series coupe will be introduced in 2011. The first EV production model will be launched in 2013.

"However we have been looking into possible technical solutions for a while and we would be able to add such a feature to our vehicles should this turn out to be a real problem,” he said in an e-mail reply to questions. “We are also cooperating with organizations for the visibly impaired in Germany."

BMW will be unveiling the new 1-Series M Coupe officially at the upcoming 2011 North American International Auto Show (or Detroit Auto Show). As per Albert Biermann, development chief of BMW M GmbH, the new 1-Series M Coupe will be powered by the same 3.0-liter 6-cylinder unit on the Z435is. This engine is capable of delivering up to 340 hp (250 kW) of motive power at 5,900 rpm and up to 450 Nm (323 lb.-ft) of torque at between 1,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm.

With this amount of power on hand, this engine can propel the BMW Z4 from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.8 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). We can expect similar figures for the new 2011 BMW 1-Series M Coupe.

With the 1 Series M Coupe debuting in the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, potential customers have been asking why they should not allow the 1 Series M Coupe to take on the M1 name. To answer that, Biemermann disclosed that the 1-Series M Coupe could not be named as an M1 because this moniker refers to an iconic sports car, thus it should be reserved only for this type of vehicles.

Technically, the 1-Series M Coupe should have been named as BMW M1. However, that name has already been taken by the legendary M1, which went on sale from 1979 to 1981.

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Topics: bmw, technology

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