Possible future software update: Simulated engine sound.

Possible future software update: Simulated engine sound.

I just got back from a test drive with my father in law who I've been trying to persuade for a while to buy a model S as his next car (wish I could buy one for myself but can't for several reasons). Overall had a great experience driving a performance S with standard suspension. His biggest complaint though was that he couldn't hear the engine. I know most people would say this is a benefit of going electric but for others part of the joy of driving is hearing the engine roar as you speed down the highway, and the relative silence of the S can actually be a deterrent to purchasing. So I was thinking that it might be a smart idea for the tesla software engineers to add in an optional simulated engine sound feature that plays a modified engine sound that that varies with either speed or degree of accelerator depression. To be clear I'm talking about a sound played inside the cabin through existing sound system for the enjoyment of the driver and passengers, not an external safety noise as has been discussed elsewhere on these forums. The programming for this option would be fairly simple I think and tesla could either record the soundtrack themselves from whatever Elon's favorite ICE is (McClaren F1 perhaps) or license soundtracks from any of the companies that produce racing video games. I know there are probably many more updates and options that owners would like to see tesla work on before this but I was just curious to see if any owners of possible future owners would like to see something like this in the future, if enough of us want it Tesla will probably do it.

dirkhh | July 15, 2013

Apparently the ICE lobby in Europe is working on making simulated engine noise mandatory for European electric cars as a "safety feature".

ChristianG | July 15, 2013

That's like telling Ferrari to Sound like Fiat Punto. But well as Long as it's not mandatory I could live with that Feature, but then there are sooo many other things Teslas Software guys shold do first... and that includes a proper message board ;)

rbergquist | July 15, 2013

Noise from a car is so yesterday.

mikeadams | July 15, 2013

While we are at it, lets add a simulated engine noise to our elevators. Maybe even add some jerkyness to the elevator and make it sound like it is shifting gears. Give it a whiff of exaust too. Not!

wcalvin | July 15, 2013

It's part of the trend, seen on Prius where the backup beeps are heard only inside the car.

michael1800 | July 15, 2013

I actually do understand the OP's request and have noticed the odd-at-first silence, but sometimes we have to accept change and move out of the comfort zone and what we're used to. Give it a few weeks, and the absence of motor noise becomes less odd. Give it a chance.

It just seems like there are too many other things that aren't counter-intuitive and whimsical to develop as we pioneer forward with mass-market EVs.

redders | July 15, 2013

I'm trying really hard to understand and failing. Maybe you're really trying to sell him on this and he just isn't there yet, but seriously? Buy a tape deck, duct tape it to floor where the gear stick is supposed to be and play engine noises to his heart's content.

redders | July 15, 2013

he need not worry anyway. after 800 miles there is a whining noise.

DigitalSavant | July 15, 2013

Silence is golden, but if I had to choose a sound for my S to make, it would have to be this (externally, of course.. I already do this inside the car)

ppape | July 15, 2013

I have to agree with Michael. Give it time and get past it. Learn to embrace the future. Several 'interior' items are not to owners liking at first. Ask some of them now and they see that less is more and they appreciate it.

To deprive yourself of this extraordinary car due to minor 'comforts' that may be different, would be a shame.
Ask owners how they feel to get back into an ICE and they say it's loud, and primitive. Hard to go back when you've sat in the future. Hope he gives it more consideration.


Bighorn | July 15, 2013

Be a good son-in-law and start practicing...

mikefa | July 15, 2013

Don't be silly - if you are impressed with noise over performance - go get a Harley Davidson!... i think Harleys should be outlawed for noise pollution.

TikiMan | July 15, 2013

Here ya go...
Also, it's only a $1.60 (about what that annoying old sound is really worth now days ;-)

Ahhh, I dream of the day when everything makes less external noise (especially leaf-blowers...%$#@!)

HenryT2 | July 15, 2013

There's a Renault Clio that has selectable simulated engine noise. Good for a cheap car that has no chance of actually performing like the cars it's simulating. I think it would cheapen the Model S to have something similar. I would prefer that Tesla spend their time trying to make the car quieter (road noise, wind noise) than spend even a minute thinking about this stuff. I never realized, even during the test drive, how the lack of engine noise would fundamentally change my perception of how cars should behave.

There will always be people who don't want to buy a Tesla because it doesn't behave like what they're used to. We'll have to wait for those people to either see the light, or die off. I'm sure there were plenty of people who refused to travel by plane, or automobile, or by horse when they were first introduced. Advances didn't happen by adapting to the naysayers but by leaving them behind.

KendallPB | July 15, 2013

He can't hear the engine because the Model S has no engine. Why try to hear something that doesn't exist? There's an electric motor, but no engine.

riceuguy | July 15, 2013

I drove my wife's car for hte first time in a while the other day, and after a few miles I was sure it was about to break down because I kept hearing a noise over the music. Turned out to be the engine making, well, engine noise. Silence: it's the new throttle note!

Brian H | July 16, 2013

Harleys would sound much quieter if anyone actually fitted them with mufflers that were actually built to muffle.

Thomas25 | July 16, 2013

I'll take "whoosh" over "vroom" any day

jbunn | July 16, 2013

I'd love to have bikes with straight exhaust impounded. Not everyone wants to hear your Harley. Motorcycles can be quite quiet with an appropriate muffler.

RedShift | July 16, 2013

Sound of a hypothetical nuclear warp motor spooling up at start, anyone?

Driver actuated the said sound to scare off pedestrians, anyone?

G. | July 16, 2013

I understand that when the automobiles were first invented the buggy lobby attempted to demand that automobile owners carry a spare horse to whinny, snort and poop as a warning to passersby. Clearer minds prevailed when legislation was passed which required only that drivers make "emphatic equine sounds" when approaching intersections or nearby pedestrians. This proved problematic because drivers were inconsistently able to project effective horse noises. But technology intervened in 1915 with the invention of the mechanical automobile horn and its horse-derived "ah-ooo-ga" sound. The rest is history.

jinglehyme | July 16, 2013

G. Funny! Over the past 8000 + miles I have driven, I haven't startled, frightened, run over, or killed anyone with my silent S. The notion that electric cars should sound like gas suckers is counterintuitive nonsense and fear munger foolishness.

bbryant | July 16, 2013

Quiet is is sound proofing.
I now notice engine noise from other
cars in traffic if the windows are down.
Closing them really makes you aware of
how good Tesla S reduces that noise.

I believe we are conditioned to accept
traffic noise. EV's can change that.

G. | July 16, 2013

Suggestion 1: There probably should be a gentle warning sound that's way less than a horn maybe on-demand from a dedicated button on the steering wheel. And it should sound exactly -- repeat, exactly -- like a bicycle bell. I'm serious.

Suggestion 2: If Bose can design noise-canceling headphones, why not a noise-canceled auto interior? You'd have to keep the windows rolled up, I assume, but minimizing road/tire noise at speed would seem like an achievable and valuable goal.

AmpedRealtor | July 16, 2013

I've never heard more nonsense. Make an almost silent vehicle noisy for safety reasons? How about, if you are a pedestrian, you look up once in a while to check the world around you? Sheesh!

tobi_ger | July 16, 2013

It's just a strawman argument to require something like this.
Pedestrians have to be cautious whenever near or crossing a street since they wouldn't hear bicycles, neither.
Everyone stepping onto the street is already partially responsible in case anything should happen.
This sound thingy can only be meant to distract potential buyers as it's most likely a nuisance.
However, I'd not be against it if steered by a good proximity sensor so it's more a warning signal instead of a constant noise pollution.

dougarcher26 | July 16, 2013

I would not want a simulated engine noise! That's ridiculous!
It's such a nice quiet ride and so enjoyable without any noise.

Brian H | July 16, 2013

Continuous, repeating "Ah-Ooh-Gah!" sounds. That'll work.

joiordanou | July 17, 2013

Not sure how this turned into a discussion on exterior sounds and safety which is exactly what I didn't want to start. For the record I'm against external noise production for "safety reasons" and any legislation that might require it. This post was meant to probe the interest among owners and enthusiasts for a possible app that would simulate engine noise inside the cabin for drivers who prefer it. Since there doesn't seem to be any I guess I'll have to wait until Tesla starts allowing 3rd party apps. In the meantime I'll take bighorn's suggestion and practice.

Tiebreaker | July 17, 2013

BMW does for their latest M5 - plays beefed up engine noise through the speakers, can't be turned off unless wires are cut.

Tesla should one-up it: add gasoline smell dispenser for olfactory enjoyment, some gray dust and smoke for burning oil, and a variety of rattles and squeaks. Or switch it to horse manure smell, and you have a choice spanning 100 years - early 20th or early 21st century.

redders | July 17, 2013

On the safety issue, perhaps we should require someone to walk in front of the car with red flag to warn pedestrians of an oncoming self-propelled vehicle.

GLO | July 17, 2013

I love the quiet ride. Could care less about a simulated engine noise!!

Brian H | July 17, 2013

I think you'll care a great deal if it's leftislatively imposed! ;[

Bob W | July 17, 2013

@joiordanou wrote: "I was thinking that it might be a smart idea for the tesla software engineers to add in an optional simulated engine sound feature that plays a modified engine sound that that varies with either speed or degree of accelerator depression"

This feature is already "implemented." Just tune the AM radio in the Model S to a frequency with no stations, high in the AM band, around 1740 kHz. You'll hear radio static plus a very obvious electric motor whine that varies with speed. The sound is especially obvious at low speeds, while accelerating from a stop or decelerating to a stop. It's not so obvious at higher speeds.

You probably won't be able to stand it for more than 5 minutes, but it does gives you real audio feedback that lets you appreciate just how incredibly fast that motor is spinning.

LK | July 17, 2013

Fuck no.

DigitalSavant | July 17, 2013

If exterior noise is ever legislatively imposed, hopefully there will be options to have fun with it. The bicycle bell idea was a fun one. Personally, I think it would be hilarious to have the sound of someone walking in corduroy pants.. running sound at slightly higher speeds.. "vvvt vvvt vvvt vvvt!"

tobi_ger | July 17, 2013

Go with a oil tanker horn at full 11 volume, that should get anyone's attention.

DigitalSavant | July 17, 2013

@tobi_ger - or that. :-)

Brian33 | March 31, 2014

Simply No! I like it quiet.

renwo S alset | March 31, 2014

60 Minutes already has the answer as shown in their segment.

jpeterman | March 31, 2014

+1 VIN20353

docdac | March 31, 2014

I make it a policy not to hit pedestrians. I do not require them to hear me coming.

AmpedRealtor | April 1, 2014

I just went through my 2nd drive unit replacement in order to eliminate engine noise. No thanks!

DTsea | April 1, 2014

Ummmm.... lets not.

TomServo | April 1, 2014

My solution is a couple of bean burritos.

ir | April 1, 2014

Maybe the editor on 60 Minutes read your post and thought the feature was coming in 6.0?

Vrrrrrrooom... Clunk... Vroooooom!

Brian H | April 2, 2014

Brain death does not disqualify you for employment at CBS, clearly.

sule | April 2, 2014

If there has to be a sound, for Tesla, it should be a Tesla coil :) ... Otherwise I see this as a sort of a ringtone... That can be only heard outside and could be noise-cancelled inside.


Musical Tesla Coil Singing Mario Under Ground and Others

Maybe one of those Sci Fi movie car sounds?

Like this one

Or maybe one of those?

Or this one (complete, nothing left out)


Car t man | April 3, 2014

Sound of horses... That's the original sound. And demand ICEs also have the simulators, so the playing field is level..

LK | April 3, 2014

Why is this post still up?