When it comes to electric cars, one of the hardest things for automotive enthusiasts to get over is the lack of engine noise.
But even if an electric car doesn't have a sonorous V-12 or a bellowing small-block V-8, that doesn't mean the owner has to drive along in silence.
UK-based Milltek Sport, which currently makes exhaust systems for internal-combustion cars, has created a system that mimics the sounds of those cars, as shown below on a video from the YouTube channel Archie Hamilton Racing (via InsideEVs).
Called Active Sound Control, the system projects sounds both inside and outside the car, reportedly as loud as 98 decibels. It can be programmed via an app to imitate the noises of a variety of different engines.
The menu includes five-cylinder, V-8, and V-10 engines, according to Milltek Sport's website.
The sounds are created using a speaker connected to a car's CAN BUS control system, with a Bluetooth connection for the app.
Milltek Sport Active Sound Control
Demonstrated on a Tesla Model 3, the settings allow a level of control beyond one particular engine note. You can choose noises for specific situations, such as startup and when lifting off the throttle. Engine notes are also keyed to acceleration, so the car sounds as it would if it really had a gasoline engine under the hood.
Milltek may also add some more fanciful sounds, including some "Star Wars"–like noises, according to the video.
Making electric cars noisier isn't just about entertainment. After years of debate, a United States law taking effect in September 2020 will require hybrids and electric cars to produce artificial sounds to alter pedestrians.
A similar law was enacted by the European Union in 2019.
That's left automakers with an opportunity for branding and creativity with unique sounds. Ford has chosen soft sounds for its hybrids, while Karma Automotive has chosen something that sounds more like a sci-fi sound effect.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also recommended that rules allow for a choice of sounds.