Optional Artificial Sound For BMW i3 And BMW i8

3 years ago by Inside EVs Staff 8

BMW i3

BMW i3

Pedestrian Crossing

Pedestrian Crossing

Ever since the introduction of the MINI E trial vehicles, the issue around “engine sound” and pedestrian protection was brought forward. Without a doubt, the sound of electric cars is an issue again and again when it comes to the safety of pedestrians.

With decades behind us using gasoline or diesel engines, we have been accustomed to the sound of an engine and it virtually helps us guide and protect us from the powerful cars surrounding us. Virtually noiseless driving cars are new and has yet to become mainstream, but more and more electric vehicles are being produced every year, so the issue arises: What can automakers do to improve safety for pedestrians?

*Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on BMWBLOG.  Check it out by clicking here.

In some countries, the legislature has already responded to the potential threat and are preparing laws for electric cars and artificial noise. The artificial noise will aim to to alert passers-by and at the same time reassure the driver of the quiet cars, because after all, nobody wants to be an unnecessarily high risk to pedestrians or other road users.

In Germany there are no relevant laws, which is why electric cars such as the BMW i3 are up to a certain speed actually silently. Only when the wind and road noise increase with rising speed, then they become acoustically noticeable.

Those who can not get used to the silence of electric vehicles, for safety reasons, have the option to order a special equipment found in the options list for the BMW i3 and i8.

The “Audible Pedestrian Protection” works up to a speed of 30 km/h with a turbine-like external sound being generated. For vehicle-start, the Audible Pedestrian Protection is always active, but it can be disabled by pressing a button when silence is desired.

We assume that BMW will offer the option of artificial sounds in future not only for the models of the BMW i sub-brand, but for all vehicles with the ability to go on purely electric driving. The next logical candidate would be plug-in hybrid models, like the BMW X5 eDrive (xDrive40e) and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Hybrid.

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8 responses to "Optional Artificial Sound For BMW i3 And BMW i8"

  1. Djoni says:

    Trully, this is B.S.
    Pedestrian get hit by, truck, motorcycle, buse, VR, Scooter, snowmobile, etc.
    None of them are silent in any ways.
    I’d like to shut down this sound on my Leaf!

  2. Mr. M says:

    The EU has made a law that all EV that are produced after 2016 (or 2017?) need to have a pedestrian warning sound (min 30 db?). After that each european bound ev will have something like this. I hope it will be possible to deactivate. According article can be found on mein-elektroauto.com

  3. Dennis says:

    If you want to add a sound include an electric radiator fan and if you didn’t like the the sound that came with your vehicle substitute the fan. They aren’t mandated until 2016 and in the USA the hybrids running without the ice in operation are required to make a sound too. And the sound must be a recogniseable automotive sound not music or unusual sounds.

  4. Philt says:

    I had leaf for 30 months and i3 for last 4 months. Having lots more problems at low speeds in BMW where pedestrians don’t hear me. Eg in car parks. Would have preferred option of a noise I could switch on and off. Will look into it. Prefer i3 though by a long way!

  5. Curtis Ling says:

    some ICE can be rather quiet theses days

    1. protomech says:

      Yes. From the outside, many modern gas cars are very quiet when decelerating or cruising. In some cases the gas engines shut off as they decelerate.

      Either make a minimum noise floor mandatory or don’t, targeting EVs specifically instead of a minimum noise floor is ludicrous.

  6. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Customizable cartones please! I want Jetsons..

  7. Kosh says:

    I kinda like the novelty of the sound on our Leaf. Get’s noticed in parking lots, in fact I find myself wanting to do loops around the parking spaces to help promote EVs…..

    As for optional sounds… can I have a Darth Vader theme as it rolls down the road?