Will the sound of acceleration become a memory?

January 3rd, 2009

I’ve been thinking about some of the fastest cars in the land. Cars with V8s, V10s, V12s, turbochargers, superchargers, even Porsche’s famous H6 Turbo.

I’ve been fantasizing about cars with these engines that will launch to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds… sometimes even under 4 seconds. The force of insanely fast acceleration; the satisfying roar of the engine as it unleashes its power at the whim of my right foot. Just starting one of these engines produces a guttural rumble that resonates inside and fills one’s mind with emotion and the potential for speed.

db9Cars like the 2007 Aston Martin DB9, hitting 60 in 4.7 seconds. Or the 2009 Audi R8, screaming to 60 in 3.9. The new Caddy CTS-V is said to reach 60 in 4 seconds flat. The 2007 Corvette Z06 throttles nearly all of ‘em in just 3.7 seconds.

Imagine yourself in the driver’s seat of any of these, the engine opened up at full throttle, the engine’s growl reverberating in your chest. There’s nothing like it, right?

Now what if you could go just as fast, but get there silently?

Some upcoming electric vehicles claim to reach 60 in supercar-like times. They can accelerate so quickly because the full torque of an electric engine is available throughout the entire RPM range.

tesla1The Tesla Roadster claims 0-60 in 3.9, as does the Campagna T-Rex. The Commuter Cars Tango reaches 60 as quickly as the 500-horsepower 2009 Cadillac CTS-V, and uses no gas to get there.

I’m not sure that fast acceleration would be as enthralling without the throaty soundtrack of a V10, though. It reminds me of when digital cameras were first introduced, and a fake shutter sound was programmed in to ease the transition.

The sound of silence just didn’t fit the experience, and I don’t think it applies to driving, either.

Do you think engine noise is an important, enjoyable part of the driving experience, or would you prefer silence?

-tgriffith

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  1. Kyle L.
    January 11th, 2009 at 19:30 | #1

    Sure… it will actually become more important. Taking your analogy to the fake shutter sound for digital cameras, I can imagine people *buying* engine sounds as if they were cellphone ring-tones. I am in a Corvette mood today. I may be in a Ferrari mood tomorrow. Taking it further, I can imagine the college crowd and teenagers upgrading (downgrading?) their engine theme to squeaky-toy sounds, sound effects from movies, etc… *sounds* (pardon the pun) like great fun to me :)

  2. B. B. Bunting
    January 5th, 2009 at 14:16 | #2

    Maybe we can all be releived of that acceleration noise. And, except for Clubs, etc. of the hassle of cars. Here’s the system :

    In the 1960s the U.S. Congress created the Department of Transportation (DOT), with authority to control many aspects of the transportation. One of the new Department’s first acts was to develop legislation supporting urban transport. But basic problems remained, and indeed grew faster than the population, and faster than the gross national product. More families became multi-car families, driving more trips each, and less alternative transports were available to greater portions of our population.
    President Clinton, to improve urban travel, agreed in 1991 to support $-billions for yet another program of development. His introduction of funding of magnetically-propelled transport systems came at a time when it had become apparent that further development of the road-only traffic systems would lead to catastrophic climatic damages, as well as increasing world land use, with its accompanying social disruption.
    The test center in Pueblo, Colorado set out to develop a vehicular system that made use of magnetism. The system made use of magnetically elevated vehicles. But they were then propelled by mighty aircraft-like IC. engines! Other work produced wheel-less vehicles that maintained a separation from the road with an air cushion. All these developments were taken into use, providing mass-transits that left the internal engine supreme for the car.
    The pollution problem continued unabated.
    By the start of the 21st century, another problem of global proportions was gaining public attention, caused by the emanation of sundry pollutants into the atmosphere and commonly named Global warming.
    As the third world develops, and scramble to join the automobile rat-race, the damage done universally to the Earth has dramatically increased. Probably the major source of the damage today is atmospheric reflection, Global warming, or more accurately, Global Climate Change.
    Making some use of the upper limits has become (relatively) simple with photovoltaic generation of electrical power. And because the Linear motor – the work-horse of the Amcar
    system – drives vehicles using direct current electrical power, this system is intrinsically
    more efficient than AC uses of the power generated from solar sources (about 30% more efficient). Global leaders called for a variety of half-measures including the ‘carbon tax,’ but
    The pollution problem continued, unabated.
    Not only do present cars release greenhouse gases, but the dust from tires, typically hydrocarbon and silica pollutants, remain in the lower atmosphere for indefinite periods.
    Other health-related problems, of carcinogens and agricultural losses are also improved by Amcars. This system eliminates them as it is a wheel-less vehicle, taking the Linear Motor from its common use on the factory floor. Amcars offer a different practical use for it, as the ‘Guideway.’ A second patent from the 1920s, the ‘Merger,’ allows the wheel-less vehicles to glide smoothly from their course on one Guideway to another, use electromagnetism to speed their vehicle on. It offers riders the ability to choose their path and destination.
    Finally, with developments in major solar power, of up to 6kWh/square meter/hour, from Photovoltaics of the end of the 20th Century, the whole system can be powered by renewable energy. Amcars requires no roads, very little carbon fuels and works best when the vehicles are not quickly obsolescent. Read ‘The Power Play to End the Car.’[ISBN 978-1-60693-139-4]

  3. January 4th, 2009 at 22:07 | #3

    Yeah, I think that they will have those little steering wheel toys that kids enjoy…you know the ones?…with the squeeker for the horn and throttle that sounds like a cat being choked?….

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