TeslaMondo has already confronted, with a bit of melancholia, the prospect of silent motoring in the post-ICE world. No grunt? No throttle blips? No back-burble? Life devoid of NVH seems a little bleak for old-school enthusiasts. Well, Steve Saleen agrees. He’s the aftermarket tuner most noted for his Ford Mustang work, and who now sells a modified Model S called the FourSixteen.
The FourSixteen body mods add nothing worthwhile to the original Franz von Holzhausen vision. Fail! But now he’s redeemed. He’s added an odd mod that attempts to bring joy without combustion, and will surely inspire similar EV adventurism. He’s added a soundtrack. And it’s not terrible! Certainly better than the infamous 60 Minutes attempt at same.* The Saleen sound evokes a supercharger/turbocharger whine but adds a bayonet somewhere. If we can’t have any guttural noises, we can at least have some ZING beyond the faint existing whizz already present in EVs. Want proof that ZING works on the adrenal gland? Think of how agitated and sweaty you feel after a dental visit, just from listening to the instruments ZING.
Okay, bad example.
Then let’s go back to the 1970s, to the movie THX 1138, the Lucas work that predated Star Wars. Here’s a grunt-free — and even music-free — chase scene involving zingy vehcles. Are they electric? Dunno, but they sound it. They whir and whine, a precursor to the TIE fighter noise that punctuated the Star Wars series. And the scene is pretty darned effective. Okay, so whirring and whining don’t measure up to, say, a Jag F-Type, but maybe it’s time to grow up. Sniff Sniff.
Thank you, Mr. Saleen, for daring to fill an aural void. Maybe you will be ridiculed years from now when silent motoring becomes universally cool. Maybe your electric bayonet sound is tantamount to breast augmentation, but dammit, need something to get us through this adjustment period. Who will perform the same service for fuel cell vehicles? What will a gutsy FCV soundtrack comprise? Perhaps a human voice. Yes, of course! A narrator who constantly reminds the driver about why FCVs make any sense.