Karma Automotive Develops Proprietary “Sound of Silence” for the 2020 Revero GT

At the beginning of November, the NHTSA will determine whether automakers can add custom sounds to their electric and hybrid vehicles, which will alert pedestrians of their approach, as well as the maximum number of sounds that can be added to each model.
2020 Karma Revero GT comes with proprietary sound to alert pedestrians when it's traveling at low speed in electric mode 11 photos
Photo: Karma Automotive
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Karma Automotive is staying ahead of the curve, having already developed a proprietary sound for the 2020 Revero GT, which they call a “unique sound of silence” and describe as a low-level, throaty-electric hum of the kind we’ve heard in futuristic movies or when you plug an electric guitar. It will be heard on the Revero only when it’s in electric mode, traveling forward or in reverse at speeds below 18.6 mph (30 km/hour), with an intensity depending on the speed, Karma says.

EVs and hybrids are very silent because of the lack of an internal combustion engine. While this is a good thing in terms of reducing noise pollution, it’s a bad thing when it comes to inattentive or blind pedestrians, who get no audio cues of an approaching vehicle. To counter this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ruled that carmakers must incorporate an artificial sound, and it’s now debating whether the driver should be able to choose from a variety of them.

Karma worked with ECCO Safety Group in developing their sound. ECCO makes sirens for emergency vehicles and alarms for commercial and construction vehicles, and this is their first sound for a passenger vehicle – and a luxury one, while at it. You can listen to the Revero sound here.

“It’s a sound that is uniquely Karma that our customers instantly recognize when the car is powered and driven at low speeds,” Karma’s Director of Infotainment Systems and Connected Car, Joe Durre, says in a press release. “Our sound alerts pedestrians that a car is nearby, something that is especially helpful for those who may be distracted, blind or visually-impaired, and gives our brand something that is very recognizable and satisfies government safety regulations.”

“This technology gives an added dimension to the personalized customization options that allow our electric vehicles to match our customers individual lifestyles and tastes, and help make our products even more special and unique,” Durre continues.

He says the tone will be customizable in future products, especially the all-electric vehicle platform Project e-Klipse, which is readied for 2021.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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