Ferrari patents 3-motor electric car with sound generators

Two patent filings suggest how Ferrari plans to compensate for the lack of engine noise in future electric cars.

A patent application, published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 21 and filed by Ferrari last year, concerns a three-motor electric vehicle with sound generators, as well as positioned inputs near each of the engines and outputs which allow sound to be routed into the cabin.

It’s not just about creating noise to add drama. Just as drivers of internal combustion cars use the sound of a revving engine as a signal for acceleration and speed, this method would give drivers a better sense of what the car is doing at any given moment, Ferrari claims in Requirement.

A second patent application, filed by Ferrari and published by the USPTO on the same dates as the first, concerns a different method of sound generation. In this case, air flowing above the car would be channeled through resonators to produce sound. Air could be sucked in through the grille, or even through an inlet under the car, Ferrari suggests in the application.

Ferrari Aerial Sound Generator Patent Image

Other automakers currently use different sounds to replace exhaust notes in electric vehicles, but these sounds are usually artificially generated and played through speakers.

Ferrari also wouldn’t be the first automaker to launch a high-performance electric vehicle with three motors. The Lucid Air Sapphire and Tesla Model S Plaid both feature such powertrains, while the Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer EV use tri-motor powertrains in off-road applications.

Ferrari has also filed a patent application for electric motors integrated into the wheels, which would be a little more unusual. The Chinese car manufacturer Dongfeng is so far the only car manufacturer to claim approval of the wheel motors for a passenger car, the Fengshen E70 sedan. The Lordstown Endurance pickup truck also used in-wheel motors, but it was aimed more at commercial fleets, and only a handful of them were built before the company declared bankruptcy.