If you, like me, are fed up with people complaining about the lack of noise in electric cars, then I’ve got some bad news for you: Those very same people who lament EVs as “THEY DON’T SOUND RIGHT” could soon be able to argue that they don’t feel right either. That’s because Hyundai wants to start making its EVs vibrate.
If a new paper filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is to be believed, Korean manufacturers Kia and Hyundai could soon make their electric vehicles vibrate to simulate the sensations you feel when behind the wheel of an internal combustion engine car.
According to the filing, instead of using speakers to pump in a manufactured engine note, Hyundai and Kia could one day add a virtual vibration that would change depending on your speed.
In many EVs, an artificial engine note is piped through internal speakers. Or, in Porsche’s case, an electronic whooshing noise can be heard inside the cabin. As you speed up or slow down, the note changes pitch or in some cases changes volume.
To make driving an EV feel a little less artificial, Hyundai and Kia want to develop varying vibrations that would be felt by the car’s inhabitants as they travel.
According to the filing, Hyundai would monitor the driver’s throttle application as they drive. Then, using a “virtual combustion engine model,” systems in the EV would develop a virtual vibration that can be felt in the cabin.
This vibration would take into account the feeling you get from a traditional combustion engine, how an idling engine feels, and even the sensations of a multi-stage transmission – another technology missing from electric cars.
Hyundai and Kia say they are pursuing this new buzzing technology as “drivers who enjoy driving” may wish they had a little more buzz from their cars.
They add that some road users may even become “bored” if they can’t feel the pulsing heart of their car as they drive around town.
In the filing with the USPTO, Hyundai and Kia said: “An electric vehicle with a characteristic that aims for high performance is desired to offer harsh and trembling effects, not just soft feeling.”
As such, they hope that this new vibration setting could cut out any “soft” feelings and make motorists quake in their boots instead.
It’s an interesting idea, and one that I’d definitely be eager to see implemented in an EV one day.
But is the lack of sensation behind the wheel of an electric car wholly down to engine note? Or are there other aspects of an EV that you think need to change before mass adoption of the new tech can happen.