What’s red and sounds like £400,000? An electric Ferrari – once you add fake engine noises | Life and style

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Name: Ferrari.

Age: Took to the road in 1947.

Appearance: Shiny, low-slung, probably red, with a small horse on the front.

I don’t get sports cars. If I wanted something ruinously expensive and unpleasantly loud, I’d have a child. You can’t teach a Ferrari to make a cup of tea. If only. But about the “loud” bit: that’s what Ferrari has been puzzling over recently.

If it is making them quieter, about time. They must have read that research about how traffic noise can affect children’s memory. No, they’re launching a fully electric car in 2025 and that means tackling the question of what happens to Ferrari’s signature roar, “an expression of pure joy borne [sic] from world-class engineering”, according to one excitable dealer’s website.

Well, if the new car is electric, presumably they get rid of the roar. Cutting out noise and air pollution together, brava Ferrari! Mamma mia, no. And actually, the lack of engine noise from electric cars has been demonstrated to be a serious safety hazard.

How so? Well, you can barely hear them when they’re travelling under 20mph and that means they pose a serious danger to pedestrians and cyclists. Blind and partially sighted people are particularly at risk. That’s why since 2021, electric car manufacturers have been required to produce sounds at low speeds, called Avas (acoustic vehicle alerting system). It’s usually a sort of whirring or electronic kind of noise.

Right, so Ferrari adds a nice regulation-compliant hum or beep – job done. But the punters need their precious car to sound like a Ferrari. How else will people know they’re driving one?

By looking at them, in the Ferrari, driving? The noise is “an important element of driving pleasure”, according to the Carbuzz website, which uncovered a patent filed by Ferrari to tackle this puzzle.

So, what’s the proposed solution to this non-problem? Judging by the patent, Ferrari may be planning to install an external speaker system, which means that when you turn the electric car on, or press the accelerator, it will broadcast authentic engine noise.

Authentic how? Apparently, the system will extract and play back real electric engine sounds, amplified and deepened. That means that instead of just being a boring recording, the noise will change as you speed up and slow down.

I’ll tell you how that sounds: expensive. An entry-level Ferrari is currently around the £200,000 mark and there’s speculation that the electric version could be nearer £400,000.

£400,000? That would get you 50 Citroën Amis. Or a five-bedroom house in Swansea with “gorgeous original features”. But are they fast, loud and sexy?

No. Well then.

Do say: “VROOM VROOM.”

Don’t say: “Attention: this midlife crisis is reversing.”

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