Laws that make Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems mandatory for all new electric vehicles also bring VW an opportunity for a new kind of branding.

THIS IS WHAT all VW electric cars will sound like.

Not long ago, when electric vehicles were appearing on the horizon to begin to fill gaps among petrol and diesel cars on showroom floors, there was disappointment that the character of a rumbling V8 or reverberating boxer engine would be lost forever. True, that day will still likely come, but the loss of mechanically created sound creates an opportunity for a new kind of automotive branding.

Following the European Union ruling this year that requires all electric cars to emit a sound for pedestrian safety, car brands have started using the requirement to create unique audible branding.

This week, Volkswagen played its artificial electric vehicle sound at the DRIVE. Forum in Berlin as part of the Future Sounds event. The sound was created in consultation with Hungarian composer Leslie Mándoki, who has also worked as a musical director on car commercials with Daimler and Audi.

Volkswagen says its Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) will be an “integral part of VW’s entire electric-vehicle brand,” and will debut in the upcoming ID3 electric hatch. The AVAS will be emitted at speeds up to 30km/h and be audible both in and outside the car, and modulate depending on throttle position.

Listen to Volkswagen’s all-new ID3 AVAS noise here:

This new method of branding is nothing like the iconic soundmark of a Harley Davidson tearing up High Street, but as combustion engines depart our roads it will be sounds like this which people instantly recognise without even seeing the car. That’s a pretty neat opportunity for manufacturers.

VW’s chief development officer for passenger cars, Frank Welsch, said this is how an electric vehicle will be defined.

“An electric vehicle’s sound defines its identity,” he said. “The sound should be confident and likeable. It may well sound futuristic and must also impress with its unique character.”

The Volkswagen ID3 is expected to land in Australia sometime in 2022.


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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

1 comment

  1. life imitating art. The VW electric vehicle sound is just like the sound vehicles in 1970’s science fiction movies used to make.

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