Audi Working On Electric Cars Acoustics

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 00:04

Audi is developing new acoustic systems for their fleet of upcoming electric cars, which allows users to choose from different engine noises.

That’s no for fun, they do it becasue the silence of electric cars at low speed is considered as a potential danger for pedestrians, as they can not hear these cars coming.

But you can have fun with this system if you want to. For example one might be able to hack into it and install a Ferrari engine noise for his little EV! But it’s a scientific approach, so let’s keep it that way.

The fact that electric vehicles are particularly quiet is, of course, a factor of their success. After all, environment-friendly automobiles should not only reduce emissions, but also noise pollution. However, speed without the typical road noises that serve as a signal has its own inherent risks: the sense of hearing allows participants in traffic to monitor all 360 degrees of their surroundings, whereas the eyes only cover a limited angle. People with poorer vision or who are distracted can easily overlook a car.

“We speak of quiet cars when an electric car is driven at a speed between 0 – 25 km/h,” explains Dr. Ralf Kunkel, Head of Acoustics at AUDI AG. Up to this speed electric cars are virtually silent as they glide through the streets. Noise from the rolling of the tyres and from the slipstream becomes obvious above this speed, at which point an electric car is no longer significantly more quiet than a conventional vehicle.

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