The sound of a Porsche is its acoustic calling card. Every fan knows the unmistakable sound of a Porsche flat-six engine. What a powertrain sounds like not only creates an emotional connection with the car, but can also provide an important early warning system for things like a loss of traction. Electric cars also have their own soundtrack. The optional Porsche Electric Sport Sound for the Taycan and Taycan 4S is skilfully composed and tailored to the vehicle’s personality and driving status. Of course, all Taycan models also have a standard system to meet the legal requirements for pedestrian protection. This is harmoniously adapted to the Electric Sport Sound.
Hearing as an acoustic early warning system
Porsche already has experience with developing the sound of electric vehicles from the 919 Hybrid. The works drivers were only able to reach the limits of the multiple Le Mans winning car in the race simulator if the sound of the real engine matched what the car was doing. In the same way, drivers promptly perceive early information about driving conditions via their sense of hearing, which they can interpret intuitively: the characteristic hissing of the tyres provides information about the quality of the asphalt or how wet the road is. A change in the wind noise, for example, gives an indication of speed or crosswind. And the sound of the powertrain, engine and transmission characterises the power delivery and conveys identity-creating characteristics such as power and agility. The ear directly sends signals to the brain when the car’s traction limit is reached and for the supplied drive or recuperation power during deceleration.
The Porsche Electric Sport Sound makes the vehicle’s own drive sound even more emotionally charged and richer, with its innovative character both on the outside and inside. For this purpose, disturbing noises from the drive architecture are deliberately minimised and harmonious, emotive sounds matching what the car is doing are amplified. These are composed in such a way that a sound experience typical of Porsche is created: with a clear statement about the electric drive but the unquestionable sound of a true Porsche. The driver can activate and deactivate the Electric Sport Sound by selecting the Sport Plus driving mode directly in the Drive menu of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) or via the configurable joker keys.
Legally required acoustic warning
In contrast, the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) cannot be switched off at low speeds. The installation of a sound generator like this for warning noises in electric cars has been mandatory in the European Union (EU) since 1 July 2019. The EU regulation requires an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) for the protection of other road users at speeds of up to 20 km/h. A similar rule applies in China and Japan. The regulation defines highly detailed framework conditions on how an AVAS noise may and may not sound. This applies, for example, to the minimum and maximum volume as well as to certain noise components. The equivalent regulation in the USA even requires a warning sound when the vehicle is stationary and requires an increase in the noise level until 32 km/h is reached.
The Porsche engineers also adapted this sound so that it is as emotive, sporty and powerful as possible within the framework of the legal regulations. The AVAS is faded out above the legally required speed ranges up to about 50 km/h. When Electric Sport Sound is switched on, the AVAS sound and the emotive sports sound blend harmoniously with each other.