The quietness of electric motors is one of many advantages that electric vehicles have over cars powered by internal combustion engines, but some automakers don’t necessarily see it exactly like that.
This is why Jaguar is even adding artificial motor sounds to its new all-electric I-Pace.
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To be fair, the British automaker says that it was trying to reduce road, wind, and motor noise as low as possible to create the best experience possible in an electric vehicle.
The exception is when the car is accelerating.
Iain Suffield, a sound design specialist at Jaguar, explains why he added some artificial motor sounds to the I-Pace:
“I added some sounds at about somewhere between 50 and 100 km/h such that it represents when you are accelerating up with the sense of power of the car.”
You can hear it here in this video from Jaguar:
The sounds are coming out of the vehicle’s speakers with different tones based on the speed.
It’s not exactly new in the car business. Several automakers, especially in the luxury and performance segments, are adding artificial sounds to make their engines sound better, but it’s the first time we’ve heard of it for an all-electric vehicle.
I’m not a fan of this. There’s just no need for it. Every gearhead I know who enjoyed the sound of a loud combustion engine before going electric ends up not missing it at all after a while.
Many of them, including myself, end up actually enjoying the natural whine of an electric motor when accelerating and it’s plenty enough auditory feedback for me.
It’s not like you should ever solely rely on sound to determine your speed anyway.
But it’s particularly weird in this case here because Suffield says that Jaguar has “a history of making great sounding really fast cars so this one needs to be no exception.” Really? You can’t make an exception so you artificially improve the sound?
I hope that since the sounds are artificially made and broadcasted through the speakers, they can give the option to turn it on or off. If that’s the case, I’d have no issue with it just like I have don’t any issue with whatever people are listening to inside their cars.
It’s certainly a different issue than the new ‘quiet car’ rule that is making automakers add sounds to be emitted by EVs at low speeds. In one case, people inside the vehicle are experiencing the noise, while in the other case, the noise is being forced onto people outside the vehicle.
But in both situations, I think it shows that we are still in the infancy of electric vehicles and people are still trying to figure out best practices.