Elon Musk has some big ideas for how electric cars could sound. Not content with the prospect of one setting for all of them, the Tesla CEO proposed a number of tongue-in-cheek noises for his company’s vehicles in a Twitter post on Thursday.
“Hey, you need a firmware on the Tesla that simulates sounds of petrol cars. And simulates the shifting and aspiration. #DoItPlease,” YouTuber Barnacules said to Musk on Twitter.
“To be more inclusive, how about a ‘pick your tech level’ setting,” Musk said. “Could make the Tesla sound like horses (coconuts!), chariots, steam engines, gasoline cars, …”
The rise of near-silent electric vehicles offers a fun opportunity to come up with some unique sounds for the roads of the future. It doesn’t even have to be a regular vehicle sound; you could use crackling fire, running water, or your favorite song.
It’s little surprise that Musk is interested in a gasoline car sound, though. The car enthusiast still owns two traditional cars in his garage: a Ford Model T, given to him by a friend, and a ‘67 E-Type Series 1 Roadster, which he describes as his “first love.” In a 1999 documentary, the young entrepreneur can be seen taking a delivery for a McLaren F1, which at the time was the fastest production car in the world.
Unfortunately, he crashed it while demonstrating its abilities to fellow PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
The Tesla also provides an ideal opportunity to change the sounds during regular operation. Each vehicle comes with a computer equipped for over-the-air software updates, making changes like these a breeze. Cars shipping since October of last year include the Nvidia Drive PX 2 computer, which enables semi-autonomous driving through an array of sensors. Future updates will improve the autonomy, but Musk could also include a hidden “car noise” feature for those who want it.
Other manufacturers have gone in the opposite direction. Lucid Motors is developing an electric vehicle designed for near-silence in the car’s interior, using Noise and Vibration Harmony to cancel out even the sounds of wheels in motion and wind rushing past. It won’t mask the sound for passersby, but at that stage, the ability to control the simulated sound of a car may seem rather pointless.
If you liked this article, check out this video on how Elon Musk became so popular.