Nissan Adds ‘Beautiful’ Noise to Make Silent Electric Cars Safe Bloomberg

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Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars

Nissan Adds ‘Beautiful’ to Make Silent Electric Safe

Tohiyuki Tabata

18 (Bloomberg) — Toshiyuki spent 30 years as a Nissan Co. engineer trying to make cars quieter. Now he’s music composers to make cars noisier — and

Electric and hybrid cars, little or no engine noise, are for their silence, yet some including advocates for the blind say may fail to notice them To address those safety transportation agencies in the U.S. and may mandate artificial sounds for the

“We fought for so long to get rid of that engine sound,” said Nissan’s noise and vibration With electric cars, “we a completely different approach and to composers talk music

Carmakers including Nissan and Motor Corp., manufacturer of the gasoline-electric hybrid, are researching as more silent models to market. Nissan will selling its Leaf electric car year in the U.S. Japan and while General Motors Co. to introduce its Volt plug-in car by November 2010.

Toyota introduce a battery-powered vehicle in

Tabata was instructed about years ago to re-create the sound of an Given his years of work noise to enhance the driving he said he balked at the suggestion of back the clock and adding evocative of an engine.

‘Blade Runner’

“We decided if we’re going to do this, if we to make sound, then going to make it beautiful and Tabata said.

The company Japanese composers of film What Tabata and his six-member came up with is a high-pitched reminiscent of the flying cars in Runner,” the 1982 film by Ridley Scott portraying his vision of 2019.

“We wanted a bit different, something closer to the of art,” Tabata said.

The system would turn on when the car starts and shut off the vehicle reaches 20 kilometers per (12 mph), Tabata said.

At higher speeds, electric generate tire noise and the in gas-electric hybrids kick in, Suzuki Takayuki, a spokesman for the Federation of the Blind .

Danger to

While no serious injuries been reported in Japan, said a hybrid car he didn’t approaching once ran over his while he crossed a Tokyo

“This isn’t just an for the blind,” Suzuki said. also a danger to children and the

Earlier this year, the submitted a request to Japan’s ministry, the Japan Automobile Association and the country’s carmakers to the issue. The ministry set up a committee met in July and August, and will recommendations by Dec. 31.

Japanese regulations say cars be equipped with devices emit sounds that be mistaken for a horn.

The U.S. Highway Traffic Safety also is analyzing data on involving pedestrians and hybrid and plans to issue a final by January, spokeswoman Elly said. The regulator works advocacy groups including the Federation of the Blind. which makers of electric cars and to incorporate noise into designs.

Nissan gained 2.3 to 627 yen in Tokyo today.


Nissan presented its sound to the NHTSA on Sept. 3, Tabata

Car electronics manufacturers also noisemakers. Tokyo-based Datasystem Co. a device selling for 12,800 yen that emits 16 different including a cat’s meow. a “boing” and a human voice “Excuse me.”

“There is a risk of these sprouting up like bamboo everywhere and disrupting the general environment,” Tabata said.

though regulators haven’t rules or guidelines, Nissan may the Leaf with its sound in time for the car’s introduction year, Tabata said. The will increase the car’s price, he said while to provide an estimate. Nissan announced the model’s pricing.

At the time, the “beautiful” sound may sales, Tabata said.

“We don’t want to destroy the of the electric car,” he said. “We to have something that enhance its image.”

To contact the responsible for this story: Okeson at


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