Suzuki aims for his vehicle acoustic environment to make “quiet” electric cars more audible to pedestrians, while promoting an emotive interactive driving experience. To accommodate that, the sounds change based on speed, location, time and the driver’s activities.
As a matter of fact, the well-known noise of the conventional internal combustion engine is what alerts us of a passing car. And as drivers we might even admit that we feel a pang of leaving something behind when our EVs don’t roar like traditional combustion engines.
To address this, Suzuki has composed two different artificial sounds: the first is more skeuomorphic, imitating the rumble of the traditional engine, and the second runs on a more melodic higher frequency that focuses on alerting passersby to ensure their safety.
Both versions integrate a seamless rise and fall in pitch to indicate when a car is accelerating or slowing down. This is helpful not only for pedestrians, but also for the drivers themselves, as they get feedback on how fast they’re going.
The in-car sounds are adaptive to the driver, aiming at strengthening the relationship between human and vehicle, as they “allow for each journey to feel important,” Suzuki said.
Firstly, the sound changes according to the time of the day, as well as calendar-based information about the driver’s habits. For instance, the car would play a cheerful sound when you’re going to the gym and a more calming one when you’re coming home for work. Play the clip bellow to hear the in-car sounds.
The sound also varies based on GPS and satnav data about the vehicle’s location, and it can be personalized to the different nature of each journey: work, groceries, traveling, and so on. Check the following video out.
A similar vision has already been realized by BMW. The famous composer Hans Zimmer has designed sounds for the BMW i4 that will reflect how the car is being driven, and the driving mode selected.
What both projects show is that EV sound can be a unique tool for a personalized driving experience that also focuses on road user safety. Hopefully, we’ll hear more such innovative attempts at redefining the electric car experience soon!
Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up?
Then you need the weekly SHIFT newsletter in your life. Click here to sign up.