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Ferrari plan for authentic ‘engine noise’ in electric cars revealed

External speaker means Italian brand's machinery could still offer a soul-stirring soundtrack, even in the EV era

Ferrari patent image engine sound

A patent filed by Italian sports car brand Ferrari has revealed plans for an external speaker system that will emit an authentic soundtrack linked directly to the propulsion system of the firm's future all-electric models, the first of which is set to arrive in 2025.

Ferrari is targeting 40 per cent EV sales by 2030, but its iconic engine sounds – from V6s, to V8s and spine-tingling V12s – risk becoming a thing of the past in the shift towards electric propulsion. While the patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office doesn't look to replicate a combustion engine's sound signature, it does show Ferrari is thinking about how its future models will be perceived, their link to Ferrari heritage and how they will make owners feel about driving them.

The filing, first spotted by Carbuzz, shows plans for a “road vehicle equipped with a reproduction device for the realization of a sound that can be associated with an electric motor”. From the looks of the accompanied drawing, Ferrari will record the sound from a part, or parts, of future models' electric motors – potentially even the transmission and differential too – amplifying this through a “sound reproduction device” mounted on the rear axle to emit an authentic sound.

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It's thought that this sound will therefore be proportional to the vehicle's speed – potentially even throttle inputs – so while it might not be wholly natural, it is augmentation of a real sound and related directly to vehicle dynamics, rather than a fully synthesised noise available on some EVs today.

It's an increasing area of development on new cars, with Abarth equipping its new hot 500e with a speaker that generates a combustion-engine like sound - a deep, bassy rumble that gives the car plenty of presence - as we heard at the vehicle's launch.

The newly unearthed plans tie in with what Ferrari's chief R&D officer, Ernesto Lasalandra told us last year. He confirmed to Auto Express that his team is working on a “sound signature” for EVs, as with combustion engines. “They will have different signatures but they will both stir up feelings and emotions,” he said.

Are car manufacturers wasting their time trying to make electric cars sound good? Tell us your thoughts in the comments...

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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