Electric vehicles in Europe are now required to emit an artificial sound whose purpose is to alert pedestrians and other road users of their presence. In order to create these acoustic alerts, BMW is working with renowned movie composer Hans Zimmer, as well as an in-house sound designer, Renzo Vitale, to come up with something that is not only suitable for the purpose, but also fun, interesting and suitable for the brand’s image.
This sound’s primary goal is still to prevent people inadvertently walking in front of an oncoming BMW EV. The safety part of the equation is the most important here - as Renzo Vitale puts it, “sound is information, to inform people that the car is approaching.”
At the same time, these sounds don’t need to be overly intrusive or abhorrent, because as the number of EVs on the road increases, you can imagine things would get pretty noisy too. As Hans Zimmer puts it, they “can actually influence the way the world is going to sound,” so that’s a pretty big responsibility.
BMW is also working on interior sounds for its electric vehicles, and you can actually get a quick sample of that in the video. The test sounds shown by Zimmer are actually quite close to the ones emitted by the new Porsche Taycan (which are said to be pretty good and fitting by those who have driven the car).