Nissan’s Canto lets its electric vehicles sing
... the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety."
Electric vehicles make very little noise as they set off in motion, and that represents a danger to vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and the hearing-impaired. Nissan Canto has been composed to reduce this danger.
Along with showing off new models and design concepts, Nissan has used the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show to show the world how its electric vehicles will sound in the future.
Nissan calls the sound effect Canto, a name derived from the Latin word meaning singing, or song. Canto kicks in when the vehicle begins motion, varying in pitch and tone as the speed gets up to 30 kilometres per hour. The speed to which Canto continues will potentially vary in each market Nissan sells electric vehicles.
“An important element of Nissan Intelligent Mobility is how the vehicle integrates with society, and a crucial component of that is sound,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business.
Canto has been developed to help with pedestrian safety, as well as to provide a distinct Nissan sound – one that is energizing and confident, authentic to our brand and representing our unique position in the electrified marketplace.”
Law and safety
To date there are regulations about sound and electric vehicles in the USA, European Union, the UK, and Japan.
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made it a law in late 2016 that:
“… all hybrid and electric light vehicles with four wheels and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less will be required to make audible noise when traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to 30 kilometers per hour (about 19 miles per hour). At higher speeds, the sound alert is not required because other factors, such as tire and wind noise, provide adequate audible warning to pedestrians.”
That law gives manufacturers until 1 September 2019 to comply, though a year prior to that half of all new hybrid and electric vehicles must already be in compliance.
“We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety.”
Hear Nissan’s Canto in action in this short video: