Two articles on electric cars
October , 2009
The Mercury News has had two interesting articles recently on the topic of electric cars. This one, from Sept 17th, is a pretty good summary of electric cars that are coming soon, many made by big boys like Volkswagen, GM, Hyundai, and BMW.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find an online copy of the second article, but in some ways it’s even more interesting. The title: “Nissan to make electric cars hum”.
It turns out that electric vehicles are naturally very quiet. And since people working on cars have been struggling to make engines quieter for decades, it wasn’t intuitively obvious that there was such a thing as too quiet. But there is. Pedestrians tend to expect cars to make some noise, and especially kids, the elderly, blind people, or those listening to iPods may not notice a very quiet vehicle.
So the Nissan engineers started thinking about sound, and what kind of sound to add.
“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, a Nissan engineer, said. Then he and his team went out to consult Japanese composers of film scores.
Now that’s thinking about things in a new way! I’m so happy they didn’t just make a recording of a throaty gasoline engine. What they decided to do instead solves the problem in a much more interesting way.