No internal combustion means silence – unless it's fake.
Although all-electric vehicles are the future and will allow for a dramatic reduction in overall C02 emissions, there's still one major issue that needs to be resolved: sound. EVs are nearly silent, unlike internal combustion-engined vehicles. This lack of sound actually creates a host of problems, among them the fact that blind people are completely unaware of the vehicle's presence. New regulations, such as those in Europe, are forcing automakers to create fake engine sounds for their new EVs.
Karma Automotive, the Southern California-based company that purchased the remnants of Fisker, the now-defunct automaker behind the Karma hybrid luxury sedan, has announced it has engineered a unique sound for its new 2020 Revero GT designed specifically to alert pedestrians about incoming cars and, at the same time, to provide the new EV luxury car with special audible soundtrack all its own.
Described as "a low-level, throaty-electric hum, like electronic audio tones heard in many futuristic movies or when an electric guitar is first plugged into an amplifier," the new 2020 Revero GT's sound meets all government safety regulations and is also different from that of, say, a Chevy Bolt. It should be given that the Karma Revero GT begins at $135,000. "It's a sound that is uniquely Karma that our customers instantly recognize when the car is powered and driven at low speeds," explained Karma's Director of Infotainment Systems and Connected Car, Joe Durre.
This new "engine noise," if you will, can also be customizable in future products, specifically the new EVs Karma will begin building sometime after 2021, all of which will be based on its global all-electric platform.
"This technology gives an added dimension to the personalized customization options that allow our electric vehicles to match our customers' individual lifestyles and tastes, and help make our products even more special and unique," he adds.
The system, co-developed with ECCO Safety Group, works like this: exterior sounders are placed at the front and rear of the car and emit a speed-dependent sound spectrum at specific sound pressure level depending on the speed. When the Revero is powered up, sitting stationary, or driving forward or in reverse at speeds below 18.6 mph, it will emit this new brand-specific sound that should make everyone aware a moving vehicle is nearby and coming right at them.