GENEVA – –
Automakers are dreaming of the futuristic sounds of electric car engines to ensure that pedestrians can hear vehicles, such as high-revving combustion engines, said senior executives at the Geneva auto show.
At a time when BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Mini and VW are preparing to launch battery-powered vehicles, automakers are looking for a new way to market the power of their zero emission vehicles.
“The sound of the electric vehicle is its identity. It can not be too intrusive or annoying. It has to be futuristic and it can not sound like something we had in the past. “We can not simply add the sound of a combustion engine,” Frank Welsch, head of technical development at Volkswagen, told Reuters.
The VW electric cars will have speakers designed to draw the attention of pedestrians, Welsch said, along with a lime green electric duggy shown in Geneva.
VW has already chosen the sound for the compact vehicle Volkswagen ID that will reach the exhibition halls in 2020, but are still changing the tones of the derivatives, such as the “dune buggy”, he said.
For its new EQC model, German rival Mercedes-Benz developed an artificial buzzing loud enough to warn pedestrians that the vehicle is approaching, but that it does not bother its passengers.
“We want the car to be as quiet as possible from the inside, but there are rules for decibel levels of sound for the exterior,” said Jochen Hermann, head of development of electric transmission at Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-AMG, a performance brand that prides itself on the noisy exhaust notes of its eight- and twelve-cylinder combustion engines, is taking an unorthodox approach to making its future electric cars heard.
AMG is working with American rock band Linkin Park to find a powerful artificial sound for their electric cars, said Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers.
The BMW Group is also working on the sound of a new electric Mini, according to Esther Bahne, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at BMW Mini.
“Sound is definitely something that will shape the identity of the carThe challenge is most acute for sports car manufacturers, said Michael Pfadenhauer, head of acoustics at Porsche, for the company’s internal Christophorus magazine.
“There is no e-sound, it has to be invented, the sound conveys the emotions of a vehicle.” It gives you feedback on the power and capacity of the car, “he said.