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Electric cars get purring International Moneyweb

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Manufacturers add noise to electric cars.

Meier, a sound engineer at parent Daimler AG, typically time making engine less jarring. For the carmaker’s new models, he’s had to do the opposite create sound.

For Daimler’s city car, Meier and his invented a “sonorous purring” was pitched higher than vehicles, while Mercedes’s ($569,600) SLS AMG Coupe Electric gets huskier tones to its power.

“People expect exterior noise from a because we all grew up with the vroom’ of combustion engines,” Meier, who oversees 250 people as of powertrain acoustics at the Stuttgart, company.

Daimler isn’t in adding noise to electric Renault SA offers a choice of car — pure, glam and — on the Zoe hatchback, while Motor Co.’s Leaf, the electric car, also with artificial sound. The has become more critical to as regulators look to require noises as soon as next while the rollout of more and models forces manufacturers to ways to stand out.

Synthetic motor noise, the jangly, high-pitched whir of glam track, could lives and at the same time investments in electric cars. The emit almost no sound at low making them a potential threat for cyclists and pedestrians to reacting to the rumble of engines. electric cars already to gain popularity, a spate of could further damp


Not Looking

“If a silent vehicle knocks over an person or a child, it’s not the risk,” said Neil an analyst with Euromonitor in “It happens often in urban areas that are stepping into the road looking. You can’t get around

Although no data yet exists on caused by electric vehicles, the Union takes the threat enough to propose legislation acoustic warning sounds and worldwide guidelines are expected in 2014, according to German association VDA.

Blind and impaired people, who rely on cues to navigate through streets, could be most at

Blind threat

Without “we could step in front of a vehicle and the driver have no chance to brake in said Gerhard Renzel, blind and a traffic expert for the association for the visually impaired “What is important for us is that we get killed in traffic.”

Electric are mainly silent at speeds than 30 kilometers (19 miles) per Then tire and wind kicks in. While adding sounds at slow speeds may avoid accidents, it also one of the unique selling points of vehicles.

“One of the big competitive of electric vehicles is their said Stefan Bratzel, of the Center of Automotive Management at the of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Germany. “It’s a justified to have quieter cities.”

Electric Cars

Because of this, some are seeking to keep the din of electric to a minimum. Bayerische Motoren AG will add artificial sound to the i3 car only where authorities it. Volkswagen AG also isn’t to add sound to its e-Up! model required.

Directed noise

Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc. in June that electric should direct “a sounding noise” as a gentle to nearby people rather be required to emit sound all the

Daimler, by contrast, sees as a safety feature. On the electric the engine tone is standard in the and Japan and an option in Europe. Renault, which equips its Kangoo and Twizy electric with sound, the German doesn’t allow customers to off the noise manually.

Smart’s sound, which is in the U.S. and an option in Europe, the noise of a combustion engine by louder as the driver presses on the pedal and higher as the car accelerates. The automaker will equip Mercedes models — a variant of the B-Class, which U.S. showrooms next — with a similar Still, the real dilemma is the right tone.

“Simply the sound of a combustion engine was not an said Ralf Kunkel, of acoustics at Audi, who developed a for the A3 E-tron plug-in hybrid, debuts next year. discarded ideas of giving vehicles sounds such as twittering or leaves rustling.”

2013 Bloomberg News

Daimler’s e-Smart, Mercedes, Renault SA, Zoe hatchback, Nissan

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