14 November 2008

White noise

Brabus adds sound to the silent Tesla. Ironic? Idiotic?

Brabus Tesla Roadster

How do you tune an electric car?

It’s not a question that’s ever needed much consideration before… until the arrival of the Tesla Roadster. So, boldly going where no tuning company has gone before, Brabus (the firm that usually does loud things to Mercedes and Smart produce) has provided its own answer.

And that answer is: make it noisier.

See, the standard ‘make it faster by adding a bigger exhaust and turbo and engine-chipping thing’ doesn’t work with the Tesla’s powertrain (though we wonder if a heap of AA batteries might make a difference), so the electric motor has been left alone - hardly a problem when the Roadster hits 60mph in under four seconds.

Of course, there are a few cosmetic touches – LED running lights, new wheels, an aero kit and some interior décor – but you’d expect nothing less from Brabus.

No, the big news is something that Brabus calls a ‘space sound generator’, which is even dafter than it sounds. Essentially, it pipes a choice of engine noises into the cabin, ranging from ‘a typical V8’ to a racecar engine and two ‘futuristic soundscapes’ named ‘Beam’ and ‘Warp’. The sounds adjust according to the power output of the motor.

Is this genius or stupidity? We genuinely can’t decide. When we drove the Tesla a few months back, the sheer silentness of it was unnerving, but we’re not sure we want Star Trek-style whooshy noises instead.

And besides, the people who really need to hear the Tesla are the poor pedestrians who kept trying to step off the kerb in front of us.

Though there’s no word on the cost of the Brabus conversions, we’re guessing it won’t be cheap – especially as the stock Tesla Roadster will set you back £90,000 or so to start with.

As a budget solution, why not try Top Gear’s new CD: ‘Best V8 Soundtracks of the 1960s’?

We're hoping Brabus make a Tie Fighter noise for it (only there's too much Star Wars geekery on the net for us to find a decent sound clip to link to).

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