But that doesn't mean you won't have good audio.
Audio systems are among the few components automakers tend to source from outside suppliers, allowing the audio companies to develop new technologies on their own. We recently spoke with Harman International about its 2020 CES Display featuring upgradable audio. Harman believes electric vehicles will have a new type of audio setup that can be upgraded to a premium system over-the-air after the car has already been purchased.
At CES 2020, Continental and Sennheiser have revealed their revolutionary new audio technology that completely eliminates the need for speakers in a car's cabin. Imagined below in the interior of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Ac2ated Sound is a new audio system that doesn't use a single speaker.
"For Ac2ated Sound, we have brought together the highest levels of expertise in the areas of acoustics, infotainment and vehicle design. In Sennheiser we have found an audio expert who helped us make our pioneering audio system even better," said Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board and Head of the business area Vehicle Networking and Information at Continental. "Together, we have developed an audio system that creates premium sound out of nowhere. Additionally, Ac2ated Sound reduces space and weight. At Continental, we call this sustainability that's music to your ears."
Sennheiser says Ac2ated Sound frees up to 90 percent of the space and weight taken by a traditional sound system, which can weigh up to around 88 pounds. Instead of playing through a speaker, this new system works like a stringed instrument, sending vibrations through pieces of the interior to create sound.
If implemented on a production car, Ac2ated Sound could help reduce weight in EVs and allow interior designers to have more space in the cabin for other items. It does mean we will lose our beautiful metal speaker grilles found on high-end audio units but that seems like a small price to pay for progress.