The future - vehicle noise simulation

The future - vehicle noise simulation

May 2009

Source: The Times

Electric cars may be the transport of the future, but their engines will reverberate to the sound of the past. The European Union is set to follow America's lead in forcing manufacturers to fit the vehicles with a simulator to make the same noise as the throaty revs of a petrol engine.

The whirr of the electric motors is so quiet that cyclists and pedestrians - especially blind people - are in danger because they may not notice the cars approaching until it is too late. Prototypes of the simulators, which mimic the sound of a family saloon but can also be adjusted to the growl of a sports car, are already being tested in Britain.

Trials are being conducted by Lotus, the sports car maker, in conjunction with Guide Dogs for the Blind. The device consists of a speaker under the bonnet and wired to the accelerator pedal, which simulates the revving sound of a petrol engine and becomes louder as the vehicle accelerates. Supporters want the devices introduced before the increasing number of electric vehicles cause serious injuries.

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