Making Electric Cars Louder

More

Generally noisy cars are considered a bad thing, but some believe cars that are too quiet could be even worse. With electric cars poised to sweep the nation in the years to come, this problem may become a real one: virtually silent electric engines provide no auditory warning to pedestrians. This is a particularly serious problem for blind pedestrians who cannot rely on looking both ways. Bloomberg reports that Nissan is consequently taking measures to make its electric cars louder.

From Bloomberg:

"We fought for so long to get rid of that noisy engine sound," said Tabata, Nissan's noise and vibration expert. With electric cars, "we took a completely different approach and listened to composers talk music theory."

So just what might these electric cars sound like?

"We decided that if we're going to do this, if we have to make sound, then we're going to make it beautiful and futuristic," Tabata said.

The company consulted Japanese composers of film scores. What Tabata and his six-member team came up with is a high- pitched sound reminiscent of the flying cars in "Blade Runner," the 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott portraying his dystopian vision of 2019.

"We wanted something a bit different, something closer to the world of art," Tabata said.

Or instead of "noise," they could choose something closer to song. But then I can't help but think about ice cream trucks, playing their repetitive high-pitched, plucked-out tunes. Maybe one day you'll be able to personalize the sound your car makes like you do ring tones for your mobile phone.

IF they do go for a "Blade Runner" like noise, what would that sound like? Here's the film's trailer if you want hear the kind of noise they're talking about:

Soon you'll know when an electric car is approaching though its artistic industrial sound of the future. I'm eager to see hear what they come up with -- and how other carmakers respond with sounds of their own. Oh the cacophony they will create in the streets. The future is almost here! Now they just have to make those cars fly.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In