Renault unveils all-electric show car FRENDZY; exploring sound signatures
7 July 2011
In advance of the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault has unveiled its latest concept car, FRENDZY, powered by the same battery-electric powertrain used in the Kangoo Z.E. (although the charging point—located under the Renault logo at the front of the vehicle—is identical to that on ZOE Preview).
|Renault FRENDZY. Click to enlarge.|
FRENDZY is intended to serve as a light commercial business vehicle which can double up as a comfortable passenger car.
The chief new feature of FRENDZY as an electric vehicle, Renault says, is the work that has gone into the sounds it produces. This work was carried out in conjunction with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique). Electric vehicles are silent, so one of the big challenges facing Renault is customizing the sound they produce for safety reasons, notably at slow speeds.
The collaboration between Renault and IRCAM began with the creation of a sporty sound for DeZir. In the case of FRENDZY, the aim was to produce a custom sound which corresponds with the new concept car’s calling as an “office on wheels”. FRENDZY’s dual personality prompted Renault and IRCAM to develop a broad range of sounds that are emitted both inside and outside of the vehicle to ensure that everyone can tell whether it is in business or passenger car mode, thanks simply to its sound signature.
It is possible to distinguish the passenger side (the world of work) from the driver’s side (the world of the family) merely by the sound produced by FRENDZY. The life of the vehicle and its functions as a mobile office are highlighted by a diversity of sounds composed by Andrea Cera using IRCAM’s Modalys software.
Exploring the most informative sounds possible led me to work on variations in speed in order to express them in a clear manner. When accelerating hard, the sound becomes sharper, with a little wind noise. For deceleration phases, I added a more prominent notion of wind which provides greater scope for adapting the sound as a function of how the vehicle is being employed.—Andrea Cera
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