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.