The challenge for makers of electric sports cars is not how to make them go fast.
The electric motor is admirably suited to this task, with high levels of instantaneous torque.
Nope. The biggest challenge is how to make the driving experience as engaging to drive as a traditional high-powered car — and that includes the sound, or more specifically lack of it.
Car makers have been coming up with all sorts of noises to get electric vehicles noticed and by pedestrians too, because they pose something of a threat to the unwary.
British sports car maker Lotus has been dabbling in this field for several years, with the inclusion of sound enhancers for its cars — some user selectable.
But with the release of its 1470kW Evija electric “hyper” car, they’ve stepped it up a cog, calling on the help of renowned British music producer, Patrick Patrikios.
His body of work includes Hollywood movie soundtracks as well as songs from internationally renowned recording artists, such as Olly Murs, Sia, Britney Spears and Pixie Lott.
He was Brit Award-nominated in 2018 for his collaboration with Little Mix, and the tracks he’s worked on have been streamed more than a billion times.
For inspiration, the producer has looked to the past and the iconic Lotus Type 49.
Only 12 examples of the car were ever made and it will be forever associated with two world debuts.
Type 49 was the first to use the all-new Lotus-developed Cosworth-Ford DFV engine that would dominate the Formula 1 grid for more than a decade.
It also marked the first appearance of the iconic red, white and gold colours of Lotus sponsor Gold Leaf, one of the most recognisable motorsport liveries of all time.
Patrikios loved the idea of using the Type 49 as a starting point for the project.
“We wanted to create a soundscape for the Evija that was recognisably and distinctively Lotus,” Patrikios said.
“We wanted something intrinsically connected to Lotus so we could set an audio blueprint for its future electric cars.”
“There’s a purity to that V8, a raw edge and an emotion that stirs something in your soul, just like the best songs.”
The process began by the recording the sound of a Type 49, which was then fed into his computer.
In digitally manipulating the sound he and the Lotus team realised that slowing down the engine note created a similar frequency to the natural driving sound produced by the Evija.
“I adjusted the replay speeds and digital filtering of the Type 49 to generate a soundscape for the Evija – it was a very organic process,” he said.
“We all wanted something to spark an emotional connection between car and driver.
“Sound is hugely influential when it comes to creating and forming emotions, to enrich that bond that’s such a critical part of the Lotus experience.”
The producer’s primary task was to craft the Evija’s external noise, but using the Evija soundscape he created, he has also developed chimes and tones for everything from the activation of the indicators to the seatbelt warning.
It probably helps that the Welshman drives an EVora and has been a Lotus fan since he was a kid, thanks to his car-loving father.
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