The Tokyo Motor Show is famous for its sometimes oddball concepts that preview the shape of things to come from Japan’s automakers, but this year Nissan took the unusual step of previewing the sound of things to come.
While electric vehicles are often praised for their lack of mechanical noise, the absence of an external sound also poses a risk to nearby pedestrians who may not be aware of an approaching EV.
Already some manufacturers include a subtle warning tone on EVs travelling at low speeds, but Nissan has gone one step further, announcing Canto, Latin for “I Sing”, as a variable tone that will accompany its future EVs in urban environments.
The digital effect varies in tone and pitch according to whether the car is accelerating, braking or reversing.
Nissan says its new sound will be “clearly audible without being overly disturbing to pedestrians”.
As Nissan looks to expand its range of electric vehicles, expect to see Canto appear on cars such as the electric Nissan Leaf in years to come. The brand's newest concept, the IMx electric crossover is also an ideal candidate for the technology, arriving in Tokyo as a vision for an electric and autonomous future.
Propelled by a pair of rear-mounted electric motors that produce 320kW of power, the IMx offers more than 600 kilometres of range as well as fully autonomous driving.
A low centre of gravity and responsive chassis promise to "redefine the crossover segment".
Nissan envisions the car as a vehicle that could drop you off at the airport before docking itself at a public parking station and returning surplus energy to the local power grid.
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