For many years, automakers have been… Distortion of sounds emitted from their electric cars, trying to tune it in a way that both appears futuristic while not alienating people who are used to the fast-revving speed of a four-cylinder engine.

They seem to have settled on a series of sounds that can best be described as somewhere between a buzz and a hum. Others might say it looks like a flying saucer – and not always in a good way. But according to a new study, most people might prefer something else entirely.

Others might say it looks like a flying saucer – and not always in a good way

The online survey of 400 U.S. adults found that the top-rated sound was a “non-tonal” sound that more closely resembled a gas-powered car than any of the inorganic sounds emitted by electric cars today. The survey — a joint effort conducted by Audio Brand Listening and behavioral science and neuromarketing research agency CloudArmy — asked respondents to rate a series of sounds based on several criteria, including like, note, familiarity, and pleasure. There were five tonal sounds and five non-tonal sounds.

Both Top ranking The sounds were non-tonal and could be described as white noise with slightly different pitches. Survey participants preferred non-tonal sounds to tonal sounds, which they viewed as “anxious,” “ugly,” and “unattractive.” In contrast, people liked non-tonal sounds because they sounded more like white noise or were “derived from nature.” In fact, some participants said they wanted sounds that closely resembled the noise of a traditional car.

That could come as a shock to automakers, which have until now been largely over-indexing on the electric vehicle sound. Several companies have announced high-profile projects to design unique sounds for their battery-electric models. BMW hired famous film composer Hans Zimmer To craft soundscapes for the i4 electric sedan, while Mercedes-Benz is at it Collaboration with To create an “interactive music experience” for its cars. The Fiat 500e literally emits classic music At low speeds.

Other automakers tend to go the opposite way, designing fake exhaust sounds to overcompensate for the lack of internal combustion. Dodge even went further Own brand fake engine noise As “Fratsonic Chambered Exhaust System”. While the survey seems to indicate that people are open to traditional car sounds for their electric cars, it’s unclear whether or not these specific synthetic acoustics will go over well.

Government regulations Electric vehicles require low-speed beeps to alert pedestrians and other road users to an approaching vehicle. These sounds should have frequencies between 1,000 and 4,000 Hz, an audible range often associated with the higher, brighter end of the human voice. These melodious sounds attract people’s attention, but they often have negative side effects.

A non-tonal approach inspired by white noise could be the best approach. Famous composers and hip-hop singers need not apply.

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