Automotive News reports on BMW’s potential plans to add artificial sounds to its electric vehicles to make them safer to pedestrians.
According to the magazine, BMW’s competitors Audi and Mercedes-Benz have already begun developing specific-sounds for their EVs.
BMW is weighing whether to add artificial sounds to its electric vehicles to make them safer to pedestrians. German rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz say that they already have started developing brand-specific sounds while Nissan and Infiniti have revealed the solutions they will use to ensure that their EVs don’t pose a danger to people when traveling at low speeds.
BMW spokesman in charge for the future electric vehicles family, Tobias Hahn, said the BMW and MINI prototype electric cars currently are not equipped with active sound systems that add artificial noise at low speeds.
“However we have been looking into possible technical solutions for a while and we would be able to add such a feature to our vehicles should this turn out to be a real problem. We are also cooperating with organizations for the visibly impaired in Germany.”
In summer of 2011, BMW will roll-out a new field trial, ActiveE, an electric vehicle conversion based on the 1 Series Coupe. Two years after the kick-off of this field trial, BMW will launch their first built-from-the-ground-up electric vehicle, Megacity.
While Mr. Hahn has not offered more details on the technology piece behind the artificial sounds, the competitors have been more open about it. Mercedes is said to deliver a naturally produced sound that warns pedestrians but does not mimic the noise created by an internal combustion engine.
Audi’s acoustics experts are working to create a futuristic engine note for the brand’s EV.
On the other hand, the wonder hit Nissan Leaf emits a noise that can be described as a cross between a small jet plane and a monorail.
With the Megacity vehicle moving forward towards production, we expect BMW to reveal more technical details this year.
[Source: Automotive News ]