Harman wants to make your EV sound like it's powered by a V8
Audio gurus make a Tesla Model S sound like a hotrod.
This weekend, CNET's Roadshow went to Harman's research and development facility in Michigan to check out the team's progress on making a Tesla Model S sound like it's powered by a V8 engine, both inside and out.
On Saturday, Roadshow's Andrew Krok travelled to Harman's research and development centre in Novi, Michigan, to see a Tesla Model S souped up with some extra speakers under the body work. The company, which specialises in connected product and premium audio technology, is working on a system to make electric vehicles sound like they're powered by combustion engines so that owners don't have to choose between being safe, being environmentally friendly, and, of course, sounding cool.
When given a demonstration of the sound system, Krok confirmed that it sounded "pretty spot on". As the Tesla picked up speed, both inside and outside "it sound[ed] like there's a petrol engine under the hood making its way up the tachometer". A second demonstration offered Krok a sound profile that sounded "futuristic" and "more appropriate for an electric car".
Because EVs are so quiet, adding this type of varying sound to a vehicle provides information to pedestrians and nearby cars about where other vehicles are, how far away they're located, and how fast they're approaching.
The US, in particular, has required that all EVs come equipped with external sound signatures by September 2020, and other countries across the globe are developing similar requirements; in response, Harman is targeting this sound development at automakers, though individuals could potentially request customised sounds.
Perhaps thanks to Harman, the electric Aston Martin that James Bond will be seated behind in the next film will still sport that iconic V12 roar that 007 is known for. Otherwise, this technology could potentially make your Nissan LEAF sound like a Ferrari.