All cities are fighting against noise, but Europe is forcing electric cars to be noisy!
Indeed, since July 1, 2019, all new four-wheeled electric vehicles sold in the European Union will have to produce artificial noise. This directive will be mandatory as of the middle of next year (2021). It requires electric cars to emit sound at low speeds only, at less than 19 km/h. This requirement will apply not only to electric cars, but also to hybrid and hydrogen vehicles, which are still too discreet.
AVAS - Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems.
Remember this acronym well, because you will now hear a lot about it when it comes to electric vehicles. The AVAS should not exceed 75 decibels, which corresponds to the noise level of a conventional combustion engine. Manufacturers are free to choose the sound signature of their AVAS. This could eventually produce a cacophony not necessarily more pleasant than the noise of gasoline engines. Further more, the AVAS can be adapted to the speed of the vehicle or to an action, for example when the blinker is activated.
Many electric vehicles already have such a system, which can be deactivated or turned off. But by 2021, all electric vehicles will be required to be equipped with it. It will be mandatory.
The main reason for this new regulation is the very low attention of pedestrians. Many of them have their eyes glued to their phone screen and walk across the road "at the noise"! Blind/visually impaired people can also be dangerous.
What does this mean for Porsche?
Many manufacturers are satisfied with a gentle hum. At Porsche, this is not the case, because sports car enthusiasts have different expectations. Therefore, acousticians have been working on the Taycan to ensure that we are in the presence of a Porsche, and nothing else.
With a trick, the use of the interior sound system, Sport Sound, sold as an option, to also flatter the driver's ears. Similar to the Taycan, the Cayenne hybrids and future Macan hybrids (whose commercialization has yet to be announced) will have to undergo the same treatment, i.e. develop an AVAS that will hopefully have the typical "Porsche" sound.
When will we see a 911 Hybrid on our roads?
Development is progressing, but we will have to wait. The 911 is an iconic car, however, this future version should still please fans of the Stuttgart brand.
Since the beginning of 2020, Porsche has been actively working on a 992 hybrid. This is not the first time that a dual-engine 911 has seen the light of day, but it is the first time that series production has been announced. Already in 2010, Porsche had developed a GT3 R Hybrid for the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Almost 10 years later, its little sister will be launched on the open road. But development is a complex process for a car, especially for a 911, which is considered a pillar of the automobile.
Oliver Blume, Porsche's CEO, recently stated that "the platform for the 911 hybrid is ready, we have prototypes and it's a lot of fun to drive". In any case, there is a high probability that the 911 will adapt to the market and that a plug-in hybrid version will be released, as well as an electric version.
The biggest question that remains is the weight. Can a 911 pass the 1,800 or even 1,900 kilos and still be sporty and enjoyable to drive? Sure, we're talking about something like 700 horsepower since the 911 Turbo S E-Hybrid will take over the engine of the latest Turbo S. But the weight is never an ally and it will have to be more powerful than the Turbo S. For the moment the answers are still well preserved by Porsche. In any case, this 911 hybrid shouldn't be ready before 2022 or even 2023, when the 992 gets a facelift.
It is clear that the future trend is going towards the electrification of the car fleet, with a greater or lesser dose depending on the model, either hybrid or fully electric. There are many reasons for this change. The first reason is the growing number of customers who want to drive "clean", mainly in Europe. The most important reason is the pressure from governments on manufacturers, whose might be imposed heavy fines if they fail to comply with the regulations. Furthermore, reduce the pharaonic malus that customers have to pay actually when buying a car with a combustion engine, known as a very "polluting" car.
All manufacturers will have to do their homework. Porsche, like many other sports car manufacturers, will be no exception, because the company has always been able to adapt to new regulations and various markets, which are not all subject to the same constraints.
The positive point of this change lies in the fact that the electrification of the models makes it possible to develop engines with stratospheric performance (Porsche Taycan Turbo S -> 560kW, 761 PS) for thrill-seekers. Many questions still remain unanswered. At this stage, there is no sign (yet) at Porsche to totally discontinue the production of the 911's mythical combustion engine. But one thing is certain: the train is on the move and it should not be missed.
Start your engine to live your passion!