Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?
'There is no e-sound. It has to be invented'
Now that electric cars officially sound as silent as a character from A Quiet Place in slippers walking on eggshell foam behind an office partition lined with blankets, makers of the post-petrol vehicles have been thinking up ways to ensure zombie pedestrians can hear them coming.
Totally ignoring the fact that urban trotters currently take their lives into their hands by never looking up even when they do hear the growls of the good old combustion engine, electric vehicle makers identified noiselessness as e-cars' main problem.
Auto execs grappling with the issue spoke to Reuters at the super-swish Geneva Motor Show – a huge event packed with SUVs positioned on clutch-killing 50˚ inclines like fat, deadly 2-tonne beetles in the cavernous Palexpo exhibition centre, just around the corner from Switzerland's amazingly inefficient* airport. Everyone from Audi, Mini and VW to Mercedes and BMW chatted to the newswire, but it nevertheless chose to pull a fragrant, new-car smelling morsel from Porsche's glossy customer mag Christophorus.
Michael Pfadenhauer, the German firm's head of acoustics, emitted this quote (and if you're imagining whalesong in the background, you're getting the drift):
There is no e-sound. It has to be invented. The sound transports the emotions of a vehicle. It gives you feedback about the potency and capability of the car... At higher speeds in sports mode, a more intense acoustic feedback is needed to make customers experience the potential of the vehicle.
Meanwhile, VW's tech lead opined that: "It has to be futuristic and it cannot sound like anything we had in the past," but that's not necessarily so, is it, readers?
What do you think should alert us to the presence of heavy metal doom hurtling towards us as we cross the street? Or should the 'leccie motor industry opt for Gary Numan's seminal '70s classic "Cars"? ®
* Imagine a regional airport filled with warren-like passages leading onto narrow walkway after narrow walkway, all lined with stupidly expensive shops and further divided by queue barriers with retractable fabric swabs for a long, long, snaking 1km – for absolutely no reason with no passport control or security check to account for it. It is total chaos always. If anything, the weird bank queue system exacerbates any crowd control issue. For the love of your own sanity, stay on the French side if you can get away with it.