Hey, just heard an electric car that sounded like a V8.
Now, before you think that I am completely crazy as I am, I am not in this case.
I am actually here at Harman in Novi, Michigan and they are an autosupply with their hands all over the automotive industry. One of the newest specialties is the sound synthesis for electric cars.
And I sound good?
It may be the future of the automotive industry.
If you're not familiar with Harman, the odds are what you actually are.
Harman is a supplier responsible for a number of premium audio brands licensed to different car makers.
If you've ever listened to the Lexus Mark Levinson system or Lincoln's rival, they're both under the great Harman umbrella.
Harman's Novi, Michigan facility also has [UNKNOWN] teams of designers who help each system to its unique look to match its unique sound profile.
Harman lets me experience her EV sound synthesis on a Tesla Model S. Equipped with a digital signal processor and a couple of external speakers. There is sound both inside and outside the cabin.
The first sound I experienced was that of a V8.
It was strange to hear the low wrinkle of an eight-cylinder engine inside another Tesla.
When the car was accelerated, the sound level rose, just like a V8 that climbs into the clamp, albeit without any change of gear.
[BLANK_AUDIO] The other sound was a bit more futuristic.
For me it sounds like someone's idea of what a UFO would sound like.
This sound profile also changed its tune when the car was accelerated and decelerated.
While the V8 sound was higher outside the car, the futuristic sound felt more like a treatment for the driver and the passenger.
Some other manufacturers come to Harmon with ideas, while others are happy to let Harmon make the heavy lifting.
Anyway, it takes a team of engineers a few weeks to create a sound.
Before being tested outdoors, it runs through Harmon's listening group, where trained listeners evaluate the sound in a room equipped with plush leather benches, audio end material and a lot of speakers.
While one of the sounds I experienced felt like it was aimed at passengers, the main advantage of this technology is actually safety for people outside the vehicle.
EV is silent, so creating synthetic sounds is a way that can prevent hearing-impaired pedestrians from accidentally rising in front of an EV.
Governments around the world, including the United States, actually bill these sounds in future electric cars. So it is wise for Harmon to come before the curve and develop a solution for automakers who may currently like one.
Adaptation can also play a factor, some buyers may not want their car to sound like EUFO, yes, others can kill for that chance.
Offering a variety of sounds to an owner can give each vehicle an extra dash of unique features.
And as Harmon said, one day it could become an aftermarket supplement to allow the owners of older EVs to enter the fun.
The sounds of an electric car are just for safety.
They also give a car a personality.
Something distinct that helps it to stand out from the audience and better address the consumer.
That's the kind of work Harmon does here in Novi and around the world.
And that is the kind of work that can appear in your car as soon as the next time you enter a dealer.