While the quiet of an electric car may comes as a relief to those tired of noise pollution from vehicles, there’s a safety issue that arises once these vehicles drop below 15.53mph. That’s because, at these reduced speeds, the usual road noise and wind moving over the vehicle dies away, creating a virtually silent vehicle. For pedestrians in cities, especially those that take audible cues from oncoming traffic in deciding when to cross a road (aka, stupid), this can become an issue.
Automakers with electric vehicles in the pipe have started addressing this problem by adding artificially-generated noise to vehicles travelling at low speeds. But what noise makes the most sense? For Audi, their E-tron concept is looking to embrace “something unique”, rather than the standard combustion engine sound.
“The obvious approach would be to work on the basis of the familiar sound of a combustion engine,” said Christian Schuller, 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.”
“The sounds used for space ships in films are reminiscent of car sounds, yet are also very different, making this a rather interesting approach. But the sound will be new and unusual. The Audi RSQ from the Hollywood film ‘I, Robot’ gives an indication of how an Audi might sound in the future.” added Dr. Ralf Kunkel, Head of Acoustics at AUDI AG.
To hear what that futuristic noise might sound like, check out this clip from “I, Robot” below.