Silence or noise: are electric cars missing the thrill of the sound of combustion?

Beyond what the legislation requires in terms of safety to avoid being run over by the lack of noise, electric cars are sometimes criticized because they lack the emotional part that they contribute different sounds of an internal combustion engine. Although at low speeds they should be noticed, in normal traffic an electric car only has the sound contribution of aerodynamics because an engine electric is virtually silent. What some see as a fault and a defect, others see as a virtue and others as an opportunity to create a new soundtrack.

A combustion engine emits a series of sounds that, in addition to giving an emotional nuance to driving, also help to know what is happening under the hood. With an electric motor, that emotional part must be enjoyed in silence and the other part observing the instrumentation. In the new electric car industry, a new field which can be as exciting as any other. Sound engineers have work here and are trying to decide what an electric car should sound like (or shouldn’t sound like).

By their very operation, combustion engines have natural auditory cues. However, the same does not happen in an electric motor, although they are endowed with many ways of producing sounds. An electric car, actually, it can sound either way. Some car manufacturers are already working on creating evocative, abstract sounds that convey a sense of speed by replicating the rising revs of an internal combustion engine. Mercedes, for example, has created various soundscapes for the EQS that sound like the racer pods from the Star Wars universe.

Everrati’s Ford GT40 emits artificial sounds through its speakers to simulate a combustion engine.

However, abstract sounds like this are not always well received by everyone. The more traditional ones will miss the real sound of the explosions and the backfiring of some engines, which is actually also possible to recreate with current technology. Some companies, such as Everrati has decided to create the sound of the combustion engine even though it is not present under the hood. For the electric Ford GT40 project, he added speakers capable of emitting 110 decibels (almost the same amount as a rock concert) simulating a synthetic V8 that can be heard from inside and also from outside.

However, this coin also has two sides and what some see as an advantage of the engines, others see as a great weakness. This is the case of Rolls-Royce, which is convinced that electric motors will be the perfect propulsion system for its vehicles, precisely because they emit very little noise and make walking much more comfortable.

“Henry Royce began his working life as an electrical engineer and spent much of his career creating internal combustion engines that simulated the characteristics of an electric car: quiet operation, instantaneous torque, and the sensation of endless running,” the company recently wrote. company in a press release.

Rolls-Royce believes that electric propulsion will bring more comfort to its future models.

Therefore, for this debate there are opinions of all colors. There are those who radically defend that a car should sound like it always has, responding to changes in revolutions, accelerations and decelerations with their corresponding sound. There are also those who accept that these sounds can be simulated through the car’s speaker system, which also allows it to be changed or even dispensed with. And there are also those defend the silence of electric motors as a great virtue that eliminates the discomfort of listening to noises that interrupt the conversation or the sound of the multimedia system. No one is right and no one is wrong, they are just different tastes. With the electric car, any option is possible.

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