Does the Leaf's new “Canto” sound hit all the right notes?

If there's one clear benefit of driving an electric car, (besides having zero emissions) is its quietness. Since there is no combustion engine under the hood, the cabin becomes a quieter and more comfortable place. You also won't disturb your neighbors when driving around late at night.

But there is a downside to all that peace and quiet, and it's for the pedestrians around you. Since EVs are quiet, pedestrians won't hear them approaching. To address that issue, Nissan has updated the all-electric Leaf to produce a new sound.

All 2021 model year Leaf EVs will now be equipped with a new Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) named “Canto”. The system was developed by Nissan in partnership with sound engineers to artificially simulate driving sounds that alert road users of the presence of an approaching EV. What you'll hear won't just be any kind of sound or noise either. It will be the signature of all Nissan EVs.

2021 Nissan Leaf emits new sound for pedestrian safety image

“Customer safety is paramount, not only for those behind the wheel but those surrounding the car as well. As the world becomes more and more electrified, this sound will soon become part of the soundscape of our roads as Nissan's signature EV sound moving us closer to our goal of a zero-fatality driving experience,” said Marco Fioravanti, Regional Vice President, Product Planning at Nissan AMIEO.

The Canto sound automatically activates when the Leaf starts to move. Even as slow as 10 km/h, you'll already be able to hear it. At 30 km/h, the sound will be even more audible, but it's not loud enough to alarm pedestrians, residents, and passengers.

2021 Nissan Leaf emits new sound for pedestrian safety image

Aside from emitting a new sound when driving, Nissan says the 2021 Leaf also gets in-car Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Other safety features include blindspot warning and Intelligent Rear View Mirror.

With Nissan Philippines now selling the Leaf EV in the country, we wonder if the updated model with “Canto” will be offered here as well.