PHOTO CAPTION: Instrument panel of Japanese version of Nissan LEAF electric car.

Creating Nissan LEAF Sounds Required Lots of 'Feedback'

Nissan engineers, outside audio experts and even Hollywood contributed to creating the sounds of Nissan's all-electric car.

Published: 03-Jan-2011

The world's first mass-marketed electric car, the Nissan Leaf, boasts all of the safety features of a gasoline-powered model: air bags, anti-lock brakes, an impact-absorbing frame. There's one high-tech extra: a synthesizer that emits noise to alert pedestrians to the vehicle's approach.

But it's not just any noise. Nissan Motor Co. spent years developing the Leaf's unique sound, which some listeners have described as a gentler version of an airplane taking off or the approach of a spaceship in a sci-fi movie. When backing up, the car pings like a sonar.

What's clear is that the Leaf, which is just rolling into U.S. showrooms, sounds nothing like conventional cars. And that's no accident, said Tsuyoshi Kanuma, who led the Leaf's sound team in developing the distinctive spectrum of high and low notes.
"It's not loud but it's distinct enough that you can hear it sooner than you would a gasoline-powered engine," said Kanuma, manager of the company's noise and vibration engineering group.


Nissan LEAF can be charged at 110, 220 and 380V.

Tennessee politicians reassure public that State will be ready for electric cars.

Nissan will build 50,000 LEAF electric cars the first full year of production.

USA Today columnist shares his impressions of electric car test drive.

Nissan LEAF goes on sale in five states starting in December 2010.

Benefits of early ownership include Tax credits, rebate checks, personalized home visits, and government giveaways.


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