The absence of noise in electric cars is a problem for the safety of pedestrians. So the European Union forces since July 1, 2019, that all new electric cars and hybrids should make noise even if they go at low speeds. It is what is known as the acoustic warning system (AVAS).
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But although there are still a few years before this system imposed, many manufacturers already implementing it in their new electric car models.
They allied themselves with renowned composers to create this distinctive sound.
This is a compilation of the “voices” of the new electric cars. The sound chosen by each manufacturer to implement it in their vehicles and that pedestrians can alert their presence.
People considered the pollution and introduced new hydrogen-powered electric bikes, which will soon arrive with electric cars.
A mandatory sound when travelling at less than 20 km / h and that the regulations specify that it should be between 56 and 75 decibels.
Voice of new electric cars
The amazing Jaguar I-Pace is a 100% electric SUV. And also one of the first electric that opted for its own acoustic warning system.
The AVAS of the British firm deactivate and develop it for four years to “be audible and discreet, and not to hear inside the vehicle.”
The sound emitted from a loudspeaker located behind the front grill and increases in tone and volume. When it accelerates, with a ‘fictitious‘ sound similar to that of a V8.
On the other hand, when going back it is accompanied by an additional tone.
As the company describes:
“The initial attempts to create a sound inspire by the spaceships of science fiction films abandoned after verifying that pedestrians reacted by looking at the sky instead of the road when the vehicle approached”.
The German brand recently announced the sound that their electric cars will make as ID.3.
To produce it, they have had the composer Leslie Mandoki.
“The sound of an electric vehicle defines its identity. The sound must be safe and pleasant. It can sound futuristic and must also impress with its unique character,” said Frank Welsch, director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
The melody created by the German-Hungarian composer is very characteristic, with an artificial tone, quite robotic and somewhat futuristic.
Perhaps appropriate for an electric car, but clearly different from the traditional sound that gasoline engines make.
With the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2020, the Japanese firm has released its acoustic warning system in its hybrid SUV.
A sound that will serve to alert pedestrians of the presence of the latter, when travelling in electric mode at less than 20 km / h or in reverse.
A system introduced a year and a half earlier than established, as hybrid vehicles are not required to implement it until July 1, 2021. Toyota does not stay in its hybrid SUV, because it has also suggested parallel projects such as Ajax with its The Hy Project.
The objective is to take advantage of this artificial warning sound to favour the growth and absorption of nutrients from plants. Something that they supposedly achieve, according to the company, by using certain bandwidths and frequency ranges.
With the Audi e-tron, the German firm offers us what they call the Audi-e sound. For their acoustic warning system, they have had the director and acoustic expert Rudolf Halbmeir, a member of the Audi team who wanted to print the personality of the boot in this sound.
The brand tells us that the Audi e-Tron has a sound system specially developed by Bang & Olufsen and has been tested to work in extreme conditions of temperature and rain.
Mercedes is another company that has already introduced the AVAS system in its electric cars. Although it explains that its vehicles sound slightly different for the European Union, Japan or China.
From the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center (MTC) in the town of Sindelfingen, the team shows us how an individual sound has been developed for each electric model.
A strategy that differentiates them from other brands, which are trying to give all their models the same “voice.”
Another manufacturer that has opted to work together with a composer is BMW, who for his future electric vehicles have sought the experience of Hans Zimmer.
Through its BMW Vision M Next, the plug-in hybrid prototype that will define the company’s next models, the company showed the work of the German media composer.
For the creation of sound, Hans Zimmer worked together with Renzo Vitale, acoustic engineer and sound designer of the BMW Group.
The objective has been “to recreate the sensation of astonishment through the sound”.
How does it sound?
“The acceleration becomes an experience during which the driver moves through a series of sound textures that are gradually transformed,” explains the composer.
Such is the bet, that the manufacturer will create a BMW IconicSounds Electric brand where the sound of its future electrified vehicles will be offered.
Hyundai the new electric car
Hyundai with its Ioniq also has an AVAS system to alert pedestrians, a sound described “like that of a spaceship”.
That is activating while the car goes at less than 25 km / h. Sound is also available in the US market. Where it can be deactivated through a button.
Something that in Europe will get deactivated, because the regulations will force it to have it.
Nissan was one of the first brands to bet on the buzzer. In 2017, the Japanese manufacturer developed its ‘Singing’ technology. The demo video shows how ‘Canto’ is emitting a futuristic war underwater sound.
A kind of radar sound that varies its tone and frequency depending on whether it accelerates, decelerates or reverses.
As Nissan says, ‘Canto’ developed to improve safety and ensure that when we hear it say “there goes an electric Nissan!”. A sound already implemented since 2018 in its electric models such as the Nissan Leaf.
Through tweets from Elon Musk, Tesla announced last October that it would allow customizing the sound of the car, modifying the horn.
Reproduce the sound of a goat, the wind blow and even emit more complex sounds like the “cotocloc” of the movie ‘The Knights of the square table and their crazy followers’, the classic Monty Python.
However, this option limits in Europe, since EU regulations require a continuous sound. Similar to that of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine and “indicative of the behaviour of the vehicle”.
In the RyanVision video, you can hear the sound of the Tesla Model 3 pedestrian warning device, quite similar to that of a plane landing or taking off.
With the Porsche Taycan, the largest manufacturer of sports vehicles, it also introduces its own Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS).
Porsche engineers created this warning sound to “make it as emotional, sporty and powerful as possible within the framework of regulations.
“A sound that after 50 km / h fades to “blend harmoniously” with the Electric Sport Sound (ESS).
The sounds that the electric motor makes when going at high speed.
Additionally, the Porsche Taycan offers the option of paying $500 to make the engine sound an MP3 file of our choice.
The American manufacturer wants to land in electric cars with its new Mustang Mach-E crossover. And in addition to its 600 kilometres of autonomy or fast charging, it has also added a false engine sound.
Pretty much similar to that of a V8. Although, this sound is not specifically an AVAS since it intended for the overall driving experience and not to warn pedestrians.
Where we do find the acoustic warning system at Ford is in the new Ford Explorer and Escape 2020.
They incorporate the sound ‘O-29’, a melody identifiable by pedestrians and that changes the frequency depending on the speed. While this sound is not mandatory in the US, Ford has taken advantage of European regulations to introduce its own AVAS. Thus take advantage of the commercial pull of this technology.