Nissan’s electric cars are learning to speak Latin.

There’s no doubt electric vehicles are on their way around the globe, but they’re so quiet that Nissan has introduced what it calls ‘canto’ at the recent Tokyo Motor show – the future sound of its electrified vehicles.

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

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

Canto is derived from the Latin for “I sing”.

The sound varies in tone and pitch depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or backing up.

It is activated at speeds of up to 20 to 30km/h, depending on the demands of the marketplace.

Nissan says it created Canto with the aim of developing an alert sound, but it is also designed to enrich the aural environment of a typical city street with a distinct Nissan flair.

The level of the sound will be clearly audible, without being overly disturbing to pedestrians, residents and passengers.

What does it sound like?

A lot like a tram bell, but a tad more melodic – with ‘distinct Nissan flair.’

Have a listen and tell us what you think?


Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.