What is the sound of one hand clapping? I can’t help you with anything that requires that much philosophical thinking, but I can tell you what the new Nissan Leaf will sound like when it hits the road late this year. There will be two unique sounds, one for forward motion and one for reverse, and both sound like something from the soundtrack of Battlestar Galactica.
Since the Leaf is essentially silent while driving, Nissan developed a system called Approaching Vehicle Sound to warn pedestrians that a car was about to run them down. After trying various approaches, Nissan settled on a tone that sweeps the audio spectrum from 600Hz to 2.4kHz. The sound is disabled above about 20 miles per hour, as most pedestrian / vehicle accidents happen at lower speeds. Too bad; though it may not sound as good as a V8 on cam, the “warp drive” tone of the Leaf has it’s own appeal.