The Death of Sound is Coming!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I know. I know. I myself wrote a column embracing technology a couple magazines ago. But I‘ve come to the realization not all technology is a good thing – at least the way I see it. In the current world we live in, new technology is (for the most part), great. But with government regulations strangling emissions and the world running out of crude oil, the future is starting to look bleak – very bleak. What am I rambling about here? Mainly the advent of electric vehicles – motorcycles and automobiles alike. In fact, in the automotive industry, it is the
hot topic right now. Just about everyone still in business is developing hybrid gas/electric cars and trucks at a rapid rate and are designing for full-electric vehicles as you read this.
Could you imagine this new Ducati Streetfighter not making its trademark rumbling noise? Lame!
Yes, the world will be a better place and tree-huggers all over shall embrace in glee. But for us petrol-heads, it’s not looking good. While I hope I am not alive to see it (I’m sure I will be, though), some day motorcycles and cars may hum along with no more than a bit of road noise with a little chain whining and a slight buzz. Yeah, maybe they will fit sub-woofers in the vehicles to simulate sound for the driver/rider, but it just won’t be the same. In fact, Babus (well-known for high-performance Mercedes tuning) already has a prototype electric Tesla Roadster in the works with such a system.
But what will those around us hear? Will Kawasaki's ZX-6R give off that intoxicating scream of an echo when tapped out through a tunnel or a BMW M3 power off the line with a deep-throated rumble? No. And what about the driver's feel? So much for that trademarked Inline-Four vibration from your sportbike at triple-digit speeds or the rumbling of 450-horsepower V-8 out of your sports car - it's just not going to happen.
Let's face it, who doesn’t like the sound of a Ducati 1098 or Ferrari F430 passing by them, shifting through the gears at 100mph? If we don't figure something out soon, all we will hear is a bit of tire sequel and some driveline lash. Man, sounds awesome, right? You've got to be kidding.
Having just taken a drive to grab dinner in my BMW I was reminded of the bleak future we are currently aiming for. Who needs a radio when you have 4-liters and 450 hp singing to you from quad-exit rear exhausts Let’s hope they find some other musically-intoxicating way or propelling our speeds, because the electric one just isn’t doing it for me. On the other hand, maybe one day cars and motorcycle will hover or fly – at least that could be fun…