Nissan LeafNissan electric cars of the future will ‘sing’ to pedestrians in town, thanks to the launch of new sound-generating technology it’s calling Canto.  

Operating at speeds of up to around 20mph, the new Nissan Canto tech is a development of Nissan’s ‘Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians’ system, which it’s been producing since 2010. Canto is a much punchier name though – derived from the Latin for ‘I sing’.

It will be more than just a boring bleep or whirr. Nissan says the sound varies both in tone and pitch, depending on what the vehicle is doing – either accelerating, slowing down or reversing.

“An important element of Nissan Intelligent Mobility is how the vehicle integrates with society, and a crucial component of that is sound,” said Nissan electric cars vice president Daniele Schillaci.

“‘Canto’ has been developed to help with pedestrian safety, as well as to provide a distinct Nissan sound – one that is energising and confident, authentic to our brand and representing our unique position in the electrified marketplace.”

It’s Nissan’s way of adding a distinctive brand ID to how its EVs sound in the city, as well as giving the safety benefit of an audible alert sound for otherwise silent-running EVs.

It won’t be too loud or annoying, either: Nissan promises us it will be clearly audible “without being overly disturbing to pedestrians, residents and passengers”.

From 2019, electric car warning sounds at slower speeds will be mandatory in many major car markets, including Europe and the United States.

NEXT> Electric cars: what you need to know