Ford Motor Co is Working to Make Vehicles Much Quieter on the Inside
【Summary】Ford Motor Co is initiating a new strategy to reduce outside noises in its future lineup. The company announced its new “Whisper Strategy”, which will deliver incremental noise improvements in future models, many of which will be powered by fully-electric or hybrid powertrains. The goal is to help make road trips more comfortable and less tiring for drivers and passengers.
Passengers and drivers often equate a quieter car as being more luxurious. Most automakers agree that blocking out outside noises can create a more tranquil and pleasant environment for vehicle occupants, unless of course its a sports car. This is especially true for electric cars, which have nearly silent powertrains and are not as good at keeping outside noises at bay.
This is why Ford of Europe is initiating a new strategy to reduce outside noises in its future lineup.
The automaker announced its new "Whisper Strategy", which will deliver incremental noise improvements in future models, many of which will be powered by fully-electric or hybrid powertrains. The goal is to help make road trips more comfortable and less tiring for drivers and passengers, which is always a good thing.
Ford's "Whisper Strategy"
For the new Kuga SUV, which is Ford's best-selling SUV in Europe and the No. 3 best-selling Ford vehicle in the region according to the company, the automaker is examining noise generating elements from the suspension to the door seals to help find ways to optimize interior refinement and make the cabin quieter.
Among the improvements that Ford made to the Kuga was to add perforations to the leather seat bolsters in the upscale Kuga Vignale, which the company said reduced the total area of flat surfaces inside the cabin in order to absorb noise rather than reflect it.
In the undercarriage of the Kuga Vignale, Ford added what it calls "aerodynamically-tuned sound shields" that help limit road and wind noise entering from outside. Ford also reduced the size of the channels behind the exterior body panels that are designed to allow wiring and other components to pass from one area of the vehicle. The redesign of the channels was meant to limit airflow inside the body.
Ford also experimented with different types of tires to further reduce noise from the road surface. Ford said its engineers spent two years testing more than 70 different tires over surfaces from smooth pavement to rough concrete, in both wet and dry conditions.
The tests were done at various speeds to find the best tire design that kept road noise to a minimum, at the same time offering good traction and comfort.
"Our ‘whisper strategy' is designed to make journeys as quiet as they can possibly be – from absorbing sound through perforated seats to testing that involves listening carefully to the different sound patterns created by dozens of different tires." said Glen Goold, Ford Kuga chief program engineer.
Perhaps the most important noise reduction strategies apply to the electric and plug-in hybrid versions of the Kuga SUV. The Kuga's new "EV Now" drive mode switches off the gas engine and powers the vehicle using only the battery and electric motor. The interior road noise level of just 52 dB(A) was achieved in controlled tests – equivalent to a gentle rainfall, Ford says.
The Kuga Plug-In Hybrid Vignale also includes Active Noise Cancellation technology. The system works the same way as popular noise-cancelling headphones from Bose or Sony.
The noise cancelling system detects unwanted low-frequency cabin sounds from strategically-placed microphones throughout the cabin and counteracts them with an opposing soundwave, which comes from Bang and Olufsen audio systems.
"The all-new Kuga is our best example yet of Ford's human-centric design approach; developed in close collaboration with SUV customers to deliver distinctive style, unprecedented powertrain choice, premium comfort and advanced technologies that make life easier for owners inside and outside of the car," said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.
Ford compared the interior noise levels with that of its older models to demonstrate the reduction in cabin noise over the years. Fox example the 1977 Ford Granda produced peak cabin noise of 83 dB(A) decibels when traveling at 30 mph compared to 69 dB(A) in the new Kuga Vignale plug-in hybrid.
Although it doesn't seem like much when looking at the two decibel numbers, most people perceive one sound to be twice as loud as another one when it's approximately 10 decibels higher, so its a notable improvement.
"We had a clear vision for the Kuga from the very beginning – an approachable and sleek exterior design and an interior that provides a sanctuary space. The result is an SUV that connects with your life in a positive way." said Amko Leenarts, Design Director, Ford Europe in April 2019, when the redesigned Kuga was introduced.
While Ford is looking to make some of its vehicles quieter on the inside, some Ford models, such as the Mustang, intentionally have engine noise piped in, to make them sound more aggressive for the driver. In addition, Ford's fully electric Mach-E SUV will come with enhanced sci-fi sounds built in.
German automaker BMW is also experimenting with adding signature sounds to its future electric models, such as the upcoming i4 sedan, since these fully-electric vehicles produce no engine noise. The enhanced sounds for these electric vehicles are also designed to warn pedestrians to their presence for added safety.
Lucid’s New ‘Stealth Look’ Appearance Package for the Electric Air Sedan Compliments its High Performance DNA
Toyota’s Redesigned Prius May Get More Drivers Behind the Wheel of a Hybrid Vehicle
Toyota to Collaborate With Texas-based Utility Provider Oncor to Accelerate a Vehicle-to-Grid EV Charging Ecosystem
Stellantis to Idle its Illinois Assembly Plant Indefinitely, Citing the High Costs of Electric Vehicles
Apple Delays its Long Rumored Electric ‘Apple Car’ Until 2026, According to Sources
The World’s First Level-4 Automated Parking Feature Developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch is Approved for Commercial Use
Hyundai Motor Group Signs MoU with SK On Co. to Secure Batteries for EVs Built in the U.S.
Tesla May Build its Next Factory in South Korea, According to the Country’s Presidential Office
- High Gas Prices Aren’t Enough to Sway Consumers to EVs, Autolist Survey Finds
- Tesla’s Model 3 is Reportedly Getting a Redesign to Make it More Appealing as Competition in the EV Segment Grows
- Mercedes-Benz Signs MoU With the Government of Canada to Source the Raw Materials for Electric Vehicle Batteries
- Uber and its Technology Partner Aurora to Expand Autonomous Trucking Pilot in Texas
- Tesla Rival XPeng and Alibaba Cloud Set Up China’s Largest Cloud-Based Computing Center to Train Machine Learning Models for Autonomous Driving
- The Affordable New Smart Brand Electric Crossover Designed by Mercedes-Benz Officially Launches in China
- GM CEO Mary Barra Shares the First Look at the New Chevy Blazer EV Launching in Spring 2023
- Struggling Electric Vehicle Startup Faraday Future Signs Deal to Raise up to $350 Million in Financing to Help it Stay Afloat
- Prices For Used EVs Continue to Rise as Gas Cars Drop
- Ford Looks to Have 100% of EV Sales Be Online