What should a car sound like? Prior to the adoption of electric vehicles, cars sounded like their motors. Maybe there was a tuned exhaust? Maybe they had a backfire brap when the driver downshifted? Either way, cars typically sound like combustion.
There’s no combustion in electric vehicles, at least not on purpose, and there’s a need for an electric vehicle to make noise for safety reasons. But there’s also a need to make noise on a more visceral level.
With electric vehicles, the designers of those cars can do something they’ve never been able to do before. They can now decide how they want the cars to sound.
Ford spent countless hours determining what the Mach-E would sound like. Porsche creates a unique sound for the Taycan GTS that is different from the other Taycan lines.
Automobili Pininfarina is no different with its upcoming hypercard release, the Battista. With 1,900 horsepower coming from its 4 electric motors, there’s already some sound there. But capturing and enhancing that to improve the customer experience is key.
Pininfarina calls it Suono Pro, or “the sound of sustainable luxury,” and is unique to the Italian marque. The sound is there from the moment the driver starts the vehicle, and acoustically adapts to whatever drive mode the car is in. Additionally, it extends out to the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System, which is the pedestrian warning sound required by law.
Suono Puro “centers around the purity of the 432 Hz fequencey.” Let’s allow Pininfarina to explain.
“Suono Puro centers around the purity of the 432 Hz frequency — widely agreed to be an authentic, uplifting frequency that was used by composers Verdi and Mozart. At idle speed, the Battista’s signature is 54 Hz (down three octaves from 432 Hz) — a base note identified as pure and resonant with a positive influence on the driver’s well-being.”
We can’t say we’ve thought about sound that much.
“The effect of this frequency is seen by the way in which it impacts the most natural of elements — water. Sound resonating at this frequency creates a unique and beautiful ripple effect from the sound waves — forming a perfectly symmetrical appearance. This brings a positive effect to the human body, which is around 70 per cent water and is one of the key benefits of the chosen sound design.”
As we said before, the sound created is dependent on the drive mode.
- Calma: Natural sound of the electric motors, repeated outside for pedestrian safety reasons.
- Pura: Added character and introduces the 54 Hz base note, which is audible at a standstill.
- Energica: The base note intensity is increased.
- Furiosa: A completely unique sound character with even greater intensity and power.
- Carattere: Driver-selectable sound, configured with the personalized drive mode configurator.
Naim Audio partnered with Pininfarina for the sound system in the Battista, and also helped developed and perfect the enhancement sounds.
If this sounds a bit excessive, it is. But it’s also freakin’ cool and also a requirement for a car like the Battista. It won’t be cheap, and it’ll need to differentiate itself from other ultra high performance EVs out there. This type of attention to detail is a must.
We live in a brave, new world. We can’t wait to see what designers are free to do now that they aren’t encumbered by an internal combustion era. Yes, it’s a different time we’re entering, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.