Sound for Electric Vehicles

Sound for Electric Vehicles

Speakers: Sara Lenzi and Dr. Gianpaolo D’Amico, Lorelei / Dr. Jorge Seco, FIAMM

Client: FIAMM, Italy

Agency: Lorelei, Italy


“Cool Sounding Electric and Hybrid Vehicles. We may need burdens serious innovation here, because simply playing to synthetic internal-combustion engine notes over an electric motor seems like cheating and is ultimately looking backward.”
Frank Markus, director of Motor Trend Magazine, during the SAE Noise and Vibration Conference and Exhibition 2009.

Since 2009, the opportunity to add an artificial sound to the engines of hybrid and electric cars has been a major issue among the most important consumers associations, car manufacturers and governments all over the world. Lorelei is working as a consulting sound design agency for FIAMM (, the multinational italian manufacturer for cars horns. FIAMM has asked Lorelei to co-develop a new device, able to produce a sound for the car in different situations. The role of Lorelei covers a wide range of activities:
– design of the concept of a new sound for the electric car;
– design of different sound proposals based on the defined concept;
– prototype development of a software simulator for the new device;
– technical assistance in the design and prototyping of the new device mock-up.

At this stage, Lorelei has designed a number of different solutions for this new device, which will be able to give voice to the electric and hybrid vehicles. The proposed solutions have been developed dealing with acoustic, psychoacoustic, psychology of perception, technical aspects related to the sound diffusion system and brand identity of the electric vehicles. The solutions differ in relation with:
– the sound contents;
– the evolution of the sound contents related to the car motion;
– the diffusion sound system.

Lorelei team will present, in agreement with FIAMM R&D personnel, the work-in-progress and the first results obtained. In particular, we will be able to show and describe some of the deliverables, such as:
– concept of the sound contents: acoustic, psychoacoustics, brand related analysis;
– sound contents;
– virtual simulation system for the sound content evolution related to the cars behavior.

Time of realization

February 2010 – in progress