Hyundai Mobis, the auto parts supplier of the Hyundai Motor Group, claims to have developed the world’s first virtual engine sound system called the Acoustic Vehicle Alert Sound, which uses the front grille cover of the car. 

The system has speakers placed in the front grille, which in electric cars is largely redundant, and could be perfect for Retro-EV’s, which have a pre existing grille and no need for the cooling it was originally designed to provide.

Although sound “enhancements” are common inside vehicles now, with many cars piping an engine sound through the speakers, these are for the “enjoyment” of the occupants.

The Hyundai system produces a sound outside of the vehicle, so that pedestrians can sense an oncoming car that would normally emit almost no noise. An issue that has been raising concerns with road safety organisations.

The company said the virtual engine sound system can be used as a speaker for music as well, a useful feature for outdoor activities like camping.

The company said the related technology has been in development since 2018, while two related patents have also been registered.

Many unenlightened purists still shudder at the thought of converting a “classic” vehicle to E-power, even though there are significant environmental, financial, reliability and future-proofing benefits.

So, would the fact that a car could be tuned to sound like it was still a petrol vehicle help in the widespread acceptance of E-power for older cars?

We believe that as converters continue to develop their products, replicating the sound of your old V8, straight-six or even humble air cooled engine will become an option for customers. And although some sell the virtues of the quietness of an EV, the option to turn the “engine” on or off could offer flexibility.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before one of the UK’s growing band of converters start to look at developing something similar, we have a spare bass bin from an old Golf GTi project if anyone wants to borrow it…

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