Audi E-Sound Gives Electric Cars A Voice

Audi's E-Sound for electric cars was three years in the making; listen to this e-sound video for the latest in automotive noise.

(Audi E-Sound video)

"Audi's adding sound to its electric car models with its synthetic solution called Audi E-Sound. This replicated auto noise was developed not just to give cars audio appeal, but also to ensure pedestrian safety.

"Driving in a very silent car, you may drive too fast because you think you are not driving the speed you are doing," Dr. Ralf Kunkel, Head of Audi Acoustics. "Pedestrians do not recognize that there is a car coming."

Science fiction fans heard this one coming a mile away - well, a generation early, anyway. In his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Robert Heinlein introduces the idea of an automotive sound tape for otherwise silent cars.

Starting about 2150 or a little bit earlier... supreme swank for an Iowa farmer was to own and drive a working replica of a twentieth century "automobile" personal transport vehicle. Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil: Even the People's Republic of South Africa had laws against placing poisons in the air. But with its Shipstone concealed and a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "IC" engine, the difference between a working replica and a real "automobile" was not readily apparent.

You might want to check out some of the reader comments on this idea when it was first introduced; see comments on 'What Should Electric Cars Sound Like?'.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/16/2012)

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