Gallery: What Will the Nissan Leaf EV Sound Like?


We often take for granted that we can hear a car when it’s coming our way — the familiar roar of the gasoline-powered engine notifies us of an impending collision. But electric cars are eerily — and dangerously — silent. Nissan’s solution for its upcoming Leaf EV: adding a complex synthesized sound system for pedestrian safety.

The system, which consists of a synthesizer on the dashboard and a speaker under the hood, turns on as the car starts. It is loudest right after the vehicle turns on (as a warning to surrounding pedestrians) and it turns off automatically above 18 mph. The sound is, according to CNET, “a sine wave sweeping from 2.5kHz to 600Hz,” that is designed to be heard by people of all ages. When backing up, the Leaf generates a sound much like a truck’s beeping as it backs up.

We don’t have a sound clip of the safety system, unfortunately, but Leaf customers will get to experience it firsthand when the car goes on sale in December.



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  3. jjmilez June 12, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Clairseach, what about blind pedestrians? That’s primarily who I think of when I think of EVs’ silence as dangerous.

  4. clairseach June 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Noise pollution can be as damaging and toxic as any other kind. What is the solution to the problem of protecting people while finally making the world quieter? Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all need to take responsibility for their actions and not allow themselves to be infantilized and protected from themselves.

  5. saranyafa June 12, 2010 at 6:23 am

    That’s a great collection!
    Thank you, we had a lot of fun to browse through all the links although there are a couple which don’t work


  6. v8media June 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Hopefully they hired a sound designer, not just an engineer to make the noise. I could see some subtle Jetsons noises being entertaining for a while. I just really hope they make the sounds subtle and not annoying.

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