Life Imitates Art: Nissan to Give Electric Car a “Beautiful and Futuristic” Noise

Michael Giberson

From the LA Times car culture blog Up to Speed:

LeafA campaign backed by automakers and some lawmakers to make electric or hybrid cars noisier in a bid to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists has taken a strange, “Blade Runner”-type twist.

Nissan sound engineers have announced that the Leaf electric car set for release next year will emit a “beautiful and futuristic” noise similar to the sound of flying cars — or “spinners” — that buzz around 2019 Los Angeles in Ridley Scott’s dystopian thriller based on a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel.

“We decided that if we’re going to do this, if we have to make sound, then we’re going to make it beautiful and futuristic,” Toshiyuki Tabata, Nissan’s noise and vibration expert, told Bloomberg. “We wanted something a bit different, something closer to the world of art.” (Links and LEAF image from source.)

The article points out that some people think we’ll download sounds for our future electric cars like we currently can download ringtones for phones. The Blade Runner police cruiser is pictured below, but if I’m going to get a futuristic movie-based car I’d rather have one of the Audi’s that Will Smith drove in I, Robot.

Can I get one that plays “Theme from Shaft”?

(Related story on Slashdot via Marginal Revolution.)

5 thoughts on “Life Imitates Art: Nissan to Give Electric Car a “Beautiful and Futuristic” Noise

  1. Walk down a quiet suburban street. Listen to the cars. At low speeds, modern cars in good repair make almost no noise other than tire noise. Electric cars make tire noise also.

    If tire noise is not enough, I suggest making everyone play the Horst Wessel Lied on their CD players at top volume.

  2. This sounds cool but could quickly turn into a boom boxes gone bad social experiment. Cop cars driving down the street to ‘whatcha’ goin’ to do….’

  3. Eh, I’d rather have cop cars convert to the European siren. Actually, the police cars in “Blade Runner” had an interesting siren. I’d like my electric car to play the electronica soundtrack from “Blade Runner”. It’s funny how people thought we’d have enough energy to tool around in flying cars (like the Jetsons?!) but we are heading to a paradigm of barely fitting two people in an underpowered microvan stretching it to go 40 mph.

    [See that cat Shaft was a bad mother … shut your mouth.]

Comments are closed.