Most automakers are jumping on the EV bandwagon, including Ford which is prepared to make some of its vans electric, but Fiat has been strangely reluctant to join the fray. The electric market is becoming too large to ignore, however, so the Italian company is finally ready to jump in the race. This is Fiat, however, so you know it’s going to find its own way to stand out of the crowd.
After announcing it would be joining up with an iPhone manufacturer in China to build new EV vehicles, Fiat began to ponder the question of how to make the nearly silent vehicle audible so that pedestrians can hear it. Rather than trying to one-up Tesla, Fiat has decided to go a new route by using old Italian music on the newly revived Fiat 500. Confused? Don’t worry. We have the answers courtesy of an article released by MotorTrend.
The new and improved Fiat 500e
If you’ve heard about how Lego recreated the classic Fiat 500, you may think we’re referring to that one. Unfortunately, we’re not. Lego has yet to make a driveable automobile, although that would be epic if they did. What we’re referring to is the fact that Fiat has released an EV 500.
Fiat will continue to use a combustible engine, although the Fiat 500 is no longer available in the U.S. at this time. The Fiat 500e comes with lots of other goodies, according to Motor1. It offers a wide range of technology such as the Uconnect 5 multimedia system. With it, you can connect to the internet.
Fiat also offers three driving modes on the 500e: Normal, Range, and Sherpa. Since battery life is always a concern for EVs, the Sherpa mode will cut back on performance and unnecessary comforts in the name of getting to your local EV charging station. Other features include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and lane-keep assist.
So where does the old Italian music come in with the new Fiat 500?
Electric cars are both beloved and notorious for being almost completely silent. Drivers who long for a quiet space adore the fact that they can jump in their vehicle and drive away into the sunset without the clunk and clatter of a gasoline-powered engine.
On the flip side, pedestrians walking down the road may be unnerved to turn around and find they are being stalked by an electric car. They may have no idea how long it was there, because the engine is so silent that it’s almost impossible to hear over the sound of traffic. And while that may sound amusing, it’s actually rather dangerous.
A study from the NHTSA back in 2011 revealed that EVs are 37% more likely to result in a pedestrian death than a gasoline-powered vehicle. This led to a law that all EVs must have some sort of audible tone to alert pedestrians that an EV is approaching by September 1, 2020 in the United States.
This is where old Italian music comes in. Rather than going with some of the standard tones that most automakers are embracing, Fiat has decided to go with both memorable and easily recognizable.
According to MotorTrend,
“The pedestrian warning tone Fiat created, which the company says will be available sometime after the 500 formally launches, will be a melody derived from the Federico Fellini’s 1973 film Amarcord. Pedestrians take note: If you suddenly hear music from a semi-autobiographical satire of Fellini’s youth spent in Fascist 1930s-era Italy, you might imminently be run over by a new 500.”
It may not be the Jaws theme, but it’s definitely memorable.
Are other automakers creating their own tunes?
As it turns out, Fiat is not the first to break from the crowd. According to Mashable, Mercedes-AMG has teamed up with Linkin Park to create a tune for its EVs. So if you hear your favorite Linkin Park riff, you might need to get out of the way.
So far, no other automakers are taking advantage of a law that many might consider to be a pain by making it cool, but if Linkin Park and Federico Fellini catch on, you might begin to hear some very interesting theme tunes.
We’re personally hoping for an EV that makes Godzilla like sounds the same way the Mercedes-AMG G63 does. If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will.