Directly translated from Latin, Audi equates to “hark,” or listen. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that the German luxury brand is working to define how electric vehicles — which are essentially silent creatures — should sound to drivers, passengers, and bystanders alike.
Audi, the company who has brought us some of the best automotive soundtracks in history, is working to correct that. Dr. Ralf Kunkel, head of Acoustics at Audi AG believes sound should reflect a brand’s core values. We couldn’t agree more. As you read this, the audio wizards at Audi are working tirelessly to redefine what an automobile should sound like.
“The obvious approach would be to work on the basis of the familiar sound of a combustion engine,” says Christian Schiller, Head of Brand Development/Corporate Identity. “On the other hand, we want to underscore that an electric or hybrid Audi is an innovative product. We also want to make our Vorsprung durch Technik audible in the era of electric mobility.”
Audi contends that their upcoming electric cars won’t sound like space ships or aircraft, but if you want a basic idea, the Audi RSQ concept, used in the film I, Robot, may give a good indication. Do keep in mind Audi isn’t just doing this for engineering kicks or to appease the enthusiast: there is a real safety concern. With electric cars being virtually silent until the 15 mph mark, advocates for the safety of the visually impaired appreciate — if not demand — car noises, too.