Tech

What should an electric vehicle sound like? Could be techno.

My neighbour is lousy with electric vehicles: Teslas, Bolts, Volts, Polestars, Ioniqs, various BMWs, and at least one Ford F-150 Lightning and a tiny Gio. Fantastic. The problem is that when I’m out for a run or walking the dog, I can’t hear the damn things coming. Some of the Teslas on my block make a cool flying saucer sort of sound. Others are still entirely silent.

EV manufacturers and governments realize this is a safety issue. These vehicles should make some kind of noise to let everyone know they’re coming this way. But what?

In his Substack column, Ted Gioia directs our attention to various efforts my EV makers to come up with something that’s both safe and cool. Apparently, the new trend is techno music.

GLM, a Japanese company, has a deal with Roland, the maker of synths and drum machines. Meanwhile, Renault, the French automaker with alliances with both Nissan and Mitsubishi, has hired electronic composer Jean-Michel Jarre for a little sound design.

But not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Maybe something more human-sounding and less cyberpunk? Watch for an emerging trend to have human-made music–including vocals–become more integrated into the sounds of EVs.

Me? I still love the sound of a full-throated V8. How about making an EV sound like that? No? Well, it was worth a shot…

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37816 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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