Car makers are making a fuss over the artificial sounds they’re required to produce for their EVs, and Audi is no exception. The German brand explained to Autoblog just how it created the sound for the production E-Tron GT, noting that it was an elaborate process. Audi created the sound from 32 distinct elements using custom software and some ad-hoc discovery. The “foundation” was a 9.8-foot plastic pipe with a fan grafted to one end, producing a low growl that suited the E-Tron GT’s sporty nature.
The company’s Stephan Gsell noted the challenge of finding a sound that was pleasing, but also something you could live with every day. A Star Wars podracer sound might be a blast in short bursts, for example, but the novelty could wear off quickly during your daily commute.
Audi didn’t borrow from the Porsche Taycan while working on the sound, the company said, although it did use similar techniques and was working on it at roughly the same time.
The result is a sound that’s not quite as sci-fi as what you’ll find in the Taycan, but also not just a simple attempt to recreate a gas engine. We’re not quite sure it’s the “emotional” experience Audi claims it is, but that’s not entirely the point. The sound is at once a legal requirement to alert pedestrians as well as a void-filler for people who might be unsettled by the near silence of an EV cabin. And importantly, it’s optional on the inside — you can choose the intensity or turn it off altogether.
If you’re wealthy enough to be in the market for an E-Tron GT, you won’t have to wait too long to try it. Production is due to start near the end of 2020, albeit in small numbers.