Motor Shows

What sound will a Nissan EV make?

Electric cars may well be capable of driving in relative silence — save tyre noise — but that doesn’t mean regulators are going to let them.
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As a result, car-makers moving into the EV space must give them artificial ‘notes’ to warn pedestrians — potentially busy on their smartphones.

That’s why Nissan, one of the world’s biggest EV producers, made a point of discussing a sound at today’s Tokyo motor show, before revealing the IMx concept car we were really there to see.

The sound is called ‘Canto’, which is derived from the Latin for “I sing”, and its the artificial noise that its branded EVs will make at inner-urban speeds where pedestrians are most in danger.

The sound varies in tone and pitch depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or backing up. The sound is activated at speeds of up to 30km/h, depending on marketplace requirements. The level will be clearly audible, “without being overly disturbing to pedestrians”.

“An important element of Nissan Intelligent Mobility is how the vehicle integrates with society, and a crucial component of that is sound,” said Nissan’s executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business, Daniele Schillaci.

“‘Canto’ has been developed to help with pedestrian safety, as well as to provide a distinct Nissan sound – one that is energising and confident, authentic to our brand and representing our unique position in the electrified marketplace.”


Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the Tokyo Motor Show below, and catch more like this at