Roland Provides Artificial Sounds For Japanese Electric Sports Car
Aside from limited range and the need to charge on a regular basis, what is the most noticeable difference between a fuel-powered vehicle and an electric vehicle? The answer you’re looking for is sound. In case you haven’t noticed, electric cars are almost completely silent, but that is about to change. When I first saw the 2015 Tesla Model S Elizabeta – a Model S that was customized by Larte Design – I was excited to see that the custom package also included a sound synthesizer that gave a personality to the otherwise silent electric motors. On the other side of the world, in Kyoto, Japan, Green Lord Motors has been Japan’s Tesla, and they have taken the same path. GLM has taken a Tommy Kaira ZZ and turned it into a lithium powered, all-electric vehicle called the GLM ZZ. The best part is that GLM has teamed up with Roland Corporation to provide a similar sound synthesizer system for the GLM ZZ, and like the Model S Elizabeta, it looks like it just might make driving an EV a little more fun.
Roland’s sound synthesizer is rather small in size and comes in at less than 2.5 pounds on the scale, so the additional equipment shouldn’t hurt the ZZ’s 0 – 62 mph sprint time of just 3.9 seconds. Furthermore, the system will produce different sounds according to what driving mode is selected and how the car is driven. The tone can even be changed by the driver as he sees fit. Neither company has gone into extreme detail, but there should be several different sound settings to choose from – including a “neo-futuristic” sound that will make the ZZ sound like a ground-traveling space ship.
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Why it matters
A silent car may be great for those of you who enjoy the elegance of silence, but I personally enjoy the sound of an engine firing up, or revving to the limit just before a powerful shift into second. To me, the lack of sound actually takes the fun out of driving anything that is performance based. Taking the sound away from a fast car is like taking its soul, or its heartbeat. I am proud of all that horsepower, and I want the immediate area to know I’m unleashing every one of those ponies when I jump on it. I’m sure we won’t see the ZZ here in the U.S. anytime soon, but I have a feeling that sound synthesizers will start popping up in all new model EVs in the near future. Moreover, if you are someone who doesn’t care much for sound, well I’m sure there will be an off switch somewhere.
Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture? Electric cars with V-8 noise generators? BMWs with synthetic engine sounds piped into the cabin? Audis with generators to make its diesels sound like sporty V-8s? What the hell? I’m seeing a bunch of kids with playing cards clothes-pinned to their bicycle-wheel spokes, so they don’t have to run out of spit going "Bplt-pblpbl-blpptt" as they ride. Yeah I did it, but I was six. (No disrespect, Robert.)
Luxury cars are supposed to be quiet, hey? When a new Camry, Caddy or Lexus goes by my house at anything less than full throttle, all I hear is tire noise anyway. I don’t see engine boom-boxes on them ("Hey, listen everybody! I have a V-8!"). We’ve been trying to address noise pollution, as much in the country as in the cities, and have made our cars quieter over the years. Now we’re making quiet cars artificially louder? Ridiculous.
I guess H.L. Mencken was right: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
Am I right or wrong? Tell me, please! But in the meantime, better make mine a triple.
Read our full review here.
Watch for our full review of the GLM ZZ.