Ferrari patents 3-motor electric car with sound generators

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Two patent filings hint at how Ferrari is planning to make up for the lack of engine noises in future electric cars.

One patent application, published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 21, and filed by Ferrari last year, is for a triple-motor EV with sound generators, plus inlets positioned near each of the motors and outlets that would allow sound to be piped into the cabin.

This isn’t just about creating noise for added drama. Just as drivers of internal-combustion cars use the sound of an engine revving as a cue for acceleration and speed, this method would give drivers a better idea of what the car is doing at a given moment, Ferrari claims in the application.

A second patent application—filed by Ferrari and published by the USPTO on the same dates as the first—deals with a different method of sound generation. In this case, air flowing over the car would be channeled into resonators to produce sound. Air could be drawn in through the grille, or even an intake under the car, Ferrari suggests in the application.

Ferrari air-based sound generator patent image

Other automakers currently use different sounds as a substitute for exhaust notes in EVs, but these sounds are usually generated artificially and played through speakers.

Ferrari also wouldn’t be the first automaker to launch a tri-motor performance EV. Both the Lucid Air Sapphire and Tesla Model S Plaid feature such powertrains, while the Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer EV use tri-motor powertrains in off-road applications.

Ferrari also previously filed a patent application for in-wheel electric motors, which would be a bit more unusual. Chinese automaker Dongfeng is the only automaker so far to claim homologation of in-wheel motors for a passenger car—the Fengshen E70 sedan. The Lordstown Endurance pickup truck also used in-wheel motors, but it was aimed more at commercial fleets, and only a handful were built before the company declared bankruptcy.

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