A dozen of pure EVs will be out by 2025.
It’s a known fact that lots of automakers have been criticized in recent years for installing digital sound enhancers in their cars powered by combustion engines. BMW has done it quite a few times, such as with the previous-generation M5 (F10) launched towards the end of 2011. Since then, the Active Sound Design technology has been expanded to a multitude of other cars, including models such as the eco-friendly i3 and i8 models. The X5 M and X6 M have it, too.
What Active Sound Design does is amplify the engine’s sound through the cabin’s speakers to boost the aural experience, so they say. Future electrified BMWs will also come bundled with artificial sounds not only to make the cars more appealing in terms of how they sound (subjective opinion of BMW), but also because of legal requirements for EVs having to make noises to alert those around the car about its presence.
In the United States for example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a little over a year ago a law that will come into effect beginning September 1, 2019 when hybrids and electric cars (with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds) will have to have this type of alert system. This way, the NHTSA estimates 2,400 pedestrian injuries will be prevented each year.
Getting back to BMW, the firm’s man in charge of powertrain concepts, Andres Wilde, revealed recently in an interview that work is well underway at a new system tailored to EVs:
“We are working on that… in the laboratory last week. It’s hard to describe, I cannot sing it. It’s not so easy to keep this sound from a six- or eight-cylinder.”
He went on to specify BMW is studying this matter very carefully and will have something to show in the near future, something that will be able to deliver an “emotional experience.” Such a system will be put to good use in quite a few models considering the company has promised to roll out 25 electrified cars (not counting mild hybrids) by 2025, with 12 of them being pure EVs. Some notable models include the MINI EV due in 2019, followed a year later by the electric X3 (could be called iX3), and in 2021 by the iNext flagship set to also boast a highly advanced autonomous driving system.