Borla Developing Customizable “Exhaust System” for EVs


Borla Exhaust is a staple at SEMA and usually has some new product on hand. However, they’re usually supposed to be attached to vehicles sporting a combustion engine, making the Ford Mach-E that’s taken pole position at the company’s display area feel like a prank. Though it isn’t. The all-electric model needed to be there so Borla could show off its all-new “exhaust” kit that relies on speakers to make noise. 

While the business already had a few customizable exhaust systems designed for engines that actually need to breathe, this will be a first for Borla. According to Car and Driver, the unit was originally commissioned by Shelby American for use on modified versions of the electrified crossover. But Borla makes it sound as though it’s been getting inundated with requests to add some rumble to EVs.

“We had customers coming to us, particularly with the Mach-E, and asking for more aggressive sound,” explained VP of sales and marketing, David Borla.

“Shelby said, ‘Help us out, we need to add some sound to these,'” he continued. “When you lose sound, you lose vibrations, it’s a different experience.”

Your author was under the impression that this different experience was an essential part of why some people prefer EVs. While a poorly insulated example can suffer from excessive road noise, most electric vehicles tend to woosh you around in relative silence. This doesn’t always offer a more comfortable experience but it’s usually pretty placid in comparison to your average gas burner. A burble-prone faux exhaust seems like it would spoil that experience. But Borla believes it’ll add some novel thrills and has confirmed that customers will be able to switch the unit off with a minimum amount of effort. 

The system includes a speaker, wiring, a computer/controller, and a dedicated app that can be used to choose or customize the sound it emits. Leaks during development have shown that Borla opted to partner with AudioControl to develop the device and we first heard it earlier this year when a prototype was previewed for some of the boys at Hoonigan. It actually sounds pretty good, mimicking an extra throaty V8 in the only setting we’ve heard thus far. 

Borla said the install process should take roughly the same time as its traditional ICE bolt-on products and will be highly customizable via the app. For now, the only flavors are GT500, Camaro, and C8 Corvette. But Borla is working with a “synthesizer company” (presumably AudioControl) to create all new notes – many of which won’t bother trying to mimic combustion engine sounds. 

“This is our Blockbuster vs. Netflix moment,” said Borla, “Who knows what it should be? It’s all new; the future is evolving. For us, the mission is the same – make cars sound good. If you don’t like it, you can always turn it off.”

[Image: Shelby American]

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