Cadillac ELR Will Whisper Quieter With Noise Canceling

Cadillac’s extended-range ELR due in January will use a state-of-the-art active noise canceling system that goes beyond other cars that incorporate the technology.

The goal of noise canceling is essentially the antithesis of BMW’s piping the sound of a well-tuned exhaust into the high-fi sound system in its M5. Rather, music to the ears of EV aficionados is silence like Rolls Royce always strove for.

The ELR is capable of all-electric operation for around 35 miles on a battery charge, and the 1.4-liter range extender can emit a droning noise and shatter any illusion the car is all electric like a Tesla Model S.

To turn up the sound of silence, the ELR’s noise-cancelling system electronically gathers input from the generator and powertrain, and from three ceiling-mounted microphones.

It then calculates and produces a counter-acting noise-cancelling signal delivered through the Bose audio system’s speakers and subwoofer.

Other cars that use sound-neutralizing technology only attempt to mute exhaust boom at low engine speeds, such as during idle, however the Cadillac uses it for all engine speeds.

“Acoustic refinement is an important attribute of every Cadillac interior, and ELR is no exception,” said Chris Thomason, ELR vehicle chief engineer. “Considering how quiet the car is during pure-electric driving we knew the generator sound had to be as pleasant as possible, and we were able to achieve it with active noise cancelling.”