Hyundai and Kia patent new device to replicate the vibration of an internal combustion engine

By Ginny Buckley - Motoring Correspondent

30th Mar 2022 | Reviews

Vibrating device has been designed to win over car drivers who miss the buzz of an internal combustion engine
Vibrating device has been designed to win over car drivers who miss the buzz of an internal combustion engine

Hyundai and Kia are exploring the idea of making their electric cars vibrate in an effort to win over petrol and diesel car drivers who don't like the silent motion of an electric car. The Korean brands have filed patents in the US for a device that can mimic the vibrations of an internal combustion engine and hopes that it will win over drivers who miss the thrum of a traditional engine.

Since the arrival of the electric car, car manufacturers have introduced numerous systems designed to appease petrol and diesel car owners and make them feel more at home in an electric car. Brands such as Porsche, Ford and Mazda all offer artificial motor sounds that can be piped into the cabin. While most can be turned off, the lack of an engine sound is often seen as a barrier for adoption among car enthusiasts – especially those with performance cars.

The Hyundai and Kia patent filing suggests that instead of using the car's speakers to pipe in an artificial engine note, a speed-related vibration device could be used to introduce a 'virtual vibration' to the cabin. This would change frequency from idle to high speed to faithfully mimic the mechanical movement of an internal combustion engine. According to the filing, the aim of the new device is designed to appeal to "drivers who enjoy driving" and who literally miss the buzz of driving an internal combustion engine car.

Hyundai and Kia's patent filing come two months after Toyota filed a design for an artificial 'virtual' gearbox that would allow drivers to pretend to change gear. As almost all electric cars have a single ratio gearbox, the Toyota virtual gearbox would be little more than a switch. However, when combined with different accelerator responses, the shift could potentially deliver the same driving experience of a manual internal combustion engine car.

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