Jaguar’s first all-electric car, the I-Pace, will go on sale a little later this year. But thanks to Roadshow, which is among the press currently attending a “first drive” junket for the I-Pace in Portugal, we now know what the I-Pace sounds like.
Picture this. You’re cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway in your shiny new I-Pace on the way to some fancy cliffside restaurant, but you wind up caught behind some mope spewing toxic fumes out the back of some gas-guzzling beater. So you signal, move to the left, and hammer on the throttle. Here’s what you’ll be met with:
Since electric cars don’t get their power from lots of little explosions, like gas engines, they tend to be silent — almost eerily so, in some cases. But that’s going to change. For one thing, the US government is mandating that, by 2020, hybrid and fully electric cars emit sounds at low speeds so that pedestrians hear them coming. At the same time, automakers have spent years trying to figure out how to evoke the same emotional response many of us have associated to the sound of a roaring gasoline engine. The BMW i8 is a prime example: the German carmaker famously piped fake engine noise into the cabin of its hybrid sports car so that drivers weren’t disappointed with the meek sound of its three-cylinder engine.
Since very few automakers besides Tesla have actually shipped a fully electric car yet, no one has really figured out what an EV should sound like if it has to sound like something. All we really have is a few vague ideas like Nissan’s “singing” IMx Concept that feel just as likely to be changed or scrapped before they reach customers.
This noise in the Roadshow clip is not the federally mandated one for pedestrians — Jaguar recently posted a video of that one here. Instead, this is the company’s effort to offer a quieter ride without sacrificing too much emotional connection.
I don’t remember the warp drive noise from my very brief drive of the I-Pace back in March, so it was either innocuous enough or just not there at all. The clip above is a little off-putting, but it’s also a very clean recording. You can hear a version of the same noise a few times in this video with much more ambient noise:
Jaguar has hinted that it took inspiration for the sound from its Formula E racecar — in one video, the company’s sound design specialist even calls it a “racecar howl.” But I’m more curious what everyone else thinks. Is it too artificial? Are you fine with it? Drop a vote below, and if you have suggestions of what you’d rather hear, put them in the comments.
What do you think about the I-Pace’s acceleration noise?
I love it
I hate it
I really don’t care
118 votes total