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Porsche Taycan configurator has a $500 option for… an mp3 file of motor noise

The heavily anticipated Porsche Taycan was fully unveiled two weeks ago, with exciting performance and charging specs and quite a high price to boot. The car has been touted as the first real electric “sport sedan” challenger to Tesla from an established manufacturer, and has attracted a lot of attention and comparisons as a result.

The Taycan is a big departure for Porsche in that it’s their first EV, but there are definitely some ways it really feels like a Porsche. For example, the Taycan offers an insane amount of options — something Porsche is famous for. One of those options is Porsche’s “Electric Sport Sound,” a $500 option that adds fake, electric-like engine noises to the car.

The “Electric Sport Sound” is described on Porsche’s configurator thusly:

Porsche Electric Sport Sound enhances the vehicle’s own sound and makes it sound even more emotional — both outside and inside the vehicle. Can be activated/deactivated via Porsche Communication Management (PCM).

It costs $500, and is listed under the “performance” section of the configurator, alongside options like rear steering, dynamic chassis control, and brake upgrades.

Manufacturers have been adding sounds to their EVs lately, to comply with new US/EU regulations requiring pedestrian warning sounds. So the Porsche, regardless of this option, will sound like something from the outside. This option seems to merely change that sound to something “even more emotional.”

Accompanying the option is a link to an mp3 file demonstrating the sound the car will make.  This file demonstrates both the interior and exterior sounds. The first half of the file is played through the car’s internal speakers, and the second half of the file is what’s heard by bystanders as the car rumbles… er… zooms by.

To be fair to Porsche, the mp3 file is probably just for the website demo, and the media clip actually played inside the car may be something more high-fidelity.

The sound is not particularly unlike that of the original Tesla Roadster, which was actually recorded as part of the sound mix for the Batmobile in Batman Begins. In that case, though, the sound is not artificial, just a natural consequence of the car having little noise insulation. And the interesting sound of the motor does inspire lots of positive comments from people on their first test drive/ride of the original Roadster.

To have a look at the Taycan’s huge list of options, head on over to the Porsche Taycan Configurator and fiddle around.  See anything interesting?  Let us know in the comments.  We couldn’t possibly read a list that long ourselves, so we thought we’d crowdsource it to the readers.

Electrek’s Take

What “performance” benefit this option provides is unclear. Perhaps the sound waves, traveling out of the back of the car in excess of 700 mph, help to propel the car forward. And given the Electric Sport Sound’s inclusion under the “performance” tab, it is also unclear why red paint is not listed under the same category.  As we all know, the red ones go faster.

Sarcasm aside (but not for long), the sound is certainly fairly “emotional,” and does evoke the excitement that many prospective electric car buyers think they will miss when replacing their engine with an electric motor. In practice, few EV drivers miss engine noise once they actually get behind the wheel of a performance EV, but if this helps convert a few Porsche die-hards to a first-time EV experience, then perhaps it’s a useful option to offer.

But to charge $500 for an option that simply changes one sound out for another seems more than a little silly. Porsche is well-known for doing this sort of thing — with options like a $780 body color-painted climate control panel or $64 valve stem caps.

In this case, however, there’s likely no hardware change, or at least not a significant one. The car already has interior speakers, and it already needs exterior speakers loud enough to give pedestrian warnings. So you’re paying $500 not for a whole new set speakers to make your car sound cool, but primarily to swap out one set of noises for another.

Perhaps they could have both saved a little money and still appealed to unnecessary boomer nostalgia with a slightly more low-tech solution:

Finally, given the number of articles that refer to the Taycan as a “Tesla killer,” we would be remiss if we did not offer a direct comparison here.  It should be noted that Tesla’s equivalent auditory-emissions-simulation mode, “fart mode,” comes free with every vehicle. Will Porsche be able to catch up to Tesla’s lead in the weird audio option category (or, indeed, their lead in offering software-only options that don’t even exist yet)? Only time will tell.

Folks, I’m really sorry this article came out so sarcastic. Once I started flexing the snark muscle I just couldn’t stop. All of us here at Electrek are genuinely interested in the Taycan and excited to see it hit the road. It’s great to see another manufacturer finally make an electric car with full focus on it being fast and capable. This is what we’ve been waiting for since Tesla brought the Roadster to market. Please don’t hurt me. I like your car, Porsche.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

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