This was a question I had posed early on after the car was first introduced. Engineers responded that it should be pretty quiet.
Humans have been used to driving combustion engine powered vehicles for 100 years.
Electric engines by nature do not make much of a sound. Hidden deep in the body of a high tech, well-insulated car, perhaps no noticeable sound at all to a driver in the cabin.
Of course, the Volt also has an on-board ICE-generator which will kick-in after 40 miles of driving.
This then presents a dilemma, which we've discussed before. Will the driver be shocked when the ICE kicks in? Will he/she be puzzled when the acceleraotr is depressed and the ICE continues to hum along at a constant RPM?
We have reported that GM might be planning to artificially program the RPMs of the ICE to give it a more natural interaction with the accelerator pedal.
Now, in an interview with Cars.com, Dave Lyon, GM's executive director of interior design for North America, admits "One thing we're debating now is whether an electric should make noise.", and "We're debating whether we can dial up noise, just like you can by adjusting the ringer level on your cell phone,".
He alludes to the fact that the car could alert us to how many all-electric miles it has left, and notify us that the generator is about to fire up.
He says, "the car could advise that if you lower your speed by so many miles an hour, or turn the radio off or turn up the temp on the air conditioning or do all of those that you can make the 20 miles needed to get home."
Clearly, to design a car like the Volt, many new issues have to be considered .