Nissan’s 2021 Leaf EV will come equipped with a new acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) named Canto. Nissan says the system is fully compliant with the new European regulations and has been specifically designed to transmit artificially simulated driving sounds, alerting road users of the presence of a 100% electric vehicle.
In 2017, during his appointment within the Nissan Global team in Japan, Marco Fioravanti, regional vice president, product planning AMIEO, had the opportunity to drive forward the creation of what would become the signature brand sound for all Nissan electric vehicles. Embarking on the Canto development process, Fioravanti and his team wanted customer satisfaction and safety to be central to the composition of this unique feature.
“Customer safety is paramount, not only for those behind the wheel but for those surrounding the car as well,” said Fioravanti. “As the world becomes more and more electrified, this sound will soon become part of the soundscape of our roads as Nissan’s signature EV sound, moving us closer to our goal of a zero-fatality driving experience.”
To maximize awareness for all users of the road, Nissan partnered with an elite team of sound designers to create the Canto sound, the company’s bespoke sonic identity for electric vehicles. Created by sound designers and engineers at Nissan Japan and locally adapted for Europe at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe using a spectrum of sonic palettes, the sound has been purposely composed to ensure it varies in tone and pitch depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or reversing.
Automatically activated when traveling at speeds up to 30km/h, Canto carefully complements its surroundings and is claimed to be clearly audible without being too alarming for pedestrians, residents and passengers.
“After engineering the Canto sound, we installed it in the Leaf to enable us to carry out both subjective and objective evaluations to better match the expectations of the European customer,” noted Paul Speed-Andrews, noise and vibration development manager at Nissan Technical Centre Europe. “It was important that we not only created a sound that aligned with the new regulations but also matched Nissan’s brand image. We have always been pioneers in safety and innovation and it is great to know we are helping to shape the future of electrification,” he concluded.