Electric cars offer serious performance without the penalty of emissions, but they don’t offer much in the way of sound. That’s led many enthusiasts to worry that something vital will be lost in the transition to electric power. Which is why Mercedes-Benz is considering a rather unusual idea.
The German automaker may lean on Linkin Park to develop sounds for future electric versions of its AMG performance models. In an interview with Australian car magazine Wheels, Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers said AMG is working with a wide variety of experts, including Linkin Park. So expect AMG electric cars to make people really nostalgic for the early 2000s.
“We’ve had a cooperation with Linkin Park for years,” Moers said. “We’re really close.” Mercedes-AMG unveiled a race car with a livery designed by the band last year. It’s also sponsored Linkin Park tours, and the band participated in some of AMG’s 50th-anniversary celebrations this year. But how do musicians make music for cars?
Moers said AMG has been working on artificial sound for several years. Considering that many internal-combustion cars already have their natural engine sounds augmented by noises piped into the cabin by speakers, it’s admittedly not a stretch to imagine automakers generating completely artificial sounds for electric cars. In theory, those sounds could be anything. Engineers could synthesize the sound of a V8, or make something completely alien.
We probably won’t find out right away. While parent Mercedes-Benz is aggressively pursuing all-electric cars, AMG will start out with hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Its upcoming Project One supercar will feature a Formula One-style hybrid system, meaning there will probably be plenty of engine noise. Moers said the AMG GT four-door concept (picture above) that debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show is also a good indicator of the brand’s electrification plans.
Billed as a four-door version of the AMG GT sports car, the concept is rumored to be on the fast track to production. It relied on a combination of AMG’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and electric power to produce 805 horsepower, and AMG said it would do 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds. That’s pretty exciting, regardless of the soundtrack.