The Karma Revero GT, which you might have called the “Karma Revero” or the “Fisker Karma” in the past, will have a new setup powering it in 2020. Because that setup leans heavily electric, the powertrain of silence, the Revero will also feature some fake “engine” noise in order to warn those nearby of its presence.
But while you’d think a carmaker with a clean slate to build its “brand sound” off of would come up with something, well, cool, you might equate the Revero’s new signature sound to: a broken air conditioner; a futuristic garbage disposal; or an alien flying saucer that’s been hit by approximately 12 asteroids.
Karma Automotive announced the new sound last week, saying it’ll make up for the lack of sound that’ll come from the Revero GT’s 535-horsepower setup of dual electric motors and a turbocharged, inline three-cylinder BMW engine that will serve as a range extender that helps power an onboard electric generator. Karma calls the sound “uniquely Karma,” and says it was “crafted specifically for the brand.”
It can be heard here.
Not great, huh? Perhaps that’s fitting, though.
The sound is meant for low-speed traveling, and the Revero will emit it “when powered up and stationary” and when traveling below 18.6 mph in forward or reverse. It’s required by U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for electric and electrified vehicles whose quietness relevant to the internal-combustion engine could cause safety issues, with the government saying the rule helps pedestrians and bicyclists, both with visual impairments and without, detect the presence of vehicles and reduce the risk of low-speed pedestrian crashes.
Karma, for what it’s worth, describes the sound as a “low-level, throaty-electric hum, like electronic audio tones heard in many futuristic movies or when an electric guitar is first plugged into an amplifier.” But does anyone actually enjoy the sound of an electric guitar when it’s first plugged into an amplifier? That’s the $135,000 question on the Revero GT, whose first deliveries are supposed to be made later this year.