We all know Yamaha makes motorcycles, but they make musical instruments, too, and a new division of Yamaha Corp., called Alive, is aiming to make electric vehicles sing.

OK, maybe not actually sing, but some reports say these devices can work with electric motors to make a vehicle sound like something out of Star Wars. Seriously, that’s straight outta Bloomberg.

All of us have heard the occasional rider complain that their bike is too quiet. We have heard some riders plan to eschew electric bikes for as long as possible simply because they don’t make noise. Motorcycles and noise have a long, occasionally embattled, thoroughly intertwined history. The coming electric revolution threatens that marriage. Yamaha has apparently heard those cries. The “Alive” division is designing sound devices for their (and others’) eventual EVs.

A “Sound Control Device”

The designers refer to the phenomenon of vehicle noise as a “soundscape.” If you’ve ridden an electric motorcycle you know they can be eerily quiet at a stop. At speed they’re already other-worldly, growling or howling, if you can even hear it above the wind noise. The symphony of an internal combustion engine in concert with its transmission, the RPM crescendos and rests with each pull of the clutch can’t be easily be duplicated. Would it even pass the sniff test with no regular pause in acceleration, and only the sound of a shift?

No, and it sounds like Yamaha doesn’t think so either, so they’re not even going to try. Instead you’ll find yourself riding something that screams like a TIE-fighter. Or maybe rumbles like a Star Destroyer entering hyperspace. Yamaha engineers stated the device should create “an emotion-filled driving experience.” You will note that word “driving” means that when it comes to market, it’s going to be in (high-end, electric sports) cars, first.

My questions remain: will it be programmable? Will it be hackable? How many options will it have? Can we branch out beyond Star Wars? Because I’m going to want to roll my electric bike down the road to the Nyan Cat theme song. Or maybe something out of The Matrix. Going to learn how to reprogram these devices, BRB.

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