In today’s automotive landscape, Chrysler Group vehicles can be fitted with hundreds of different features that help provide safety and infotainment to the vehicle’s driver and occupants. But in the mid-1980s, there was one feature that kind of did both. Electronic Voice Alert (EVA) was an option available on many Chrysler K-car-based vehicles.
The EVA system was designed by the Chrysler Electronics team in Huntsville, Alabama, and used Linear Predictive Coding (LPC) speech chips, by Texas Instruments. Those same chips were used in the popular electronic toy “Speak & Spell” manufactured by Texas Instruments from 1978 to 1992 and have since made a return to the market in 2019.
In the Chrysler and Dodge applications, EVA would automatically lower the radio volume and deliver 11 different spoken messages to the driver using a speech synthesizer. As the EVA system was used throughout the years, and the system could have up to 24 spoken messages depending on the vehicle and the options it was equipped with.
Some of the original spoken messages were…
“Your headlights are on”
“Don’t forget your keys”
“Your washer fluid is low”
“Your fuel is low”
“Your electrical system is malfunctioning. Prompt service is required”
“Your engine is overheating. Prompt service is required”
“Your engine oil pressure is low. Prompt service is required”
“Your parking brake is on”
“A door is a jar”
“Please fasten your seat belts”
“All monitored systems are functioning”
Upon startup, the EVA system would inform the driver that “All monitored systems are functioning” if no issues were found. It then would tell occupants to “Please fasten your seat belts”. Considering that the system made its debut only a few years after Chrysler created the world’s first electronic travel information computer (that could show, fuel economy, range, and average speed), the EVA system was ahead of its time.
Those vehicles equipped with EVA were usually paired with a digital instrument cluster. Some owners got tired of the system audibly telling them the prompts, so they would turn it off by removing a fuse, which would sometimes deactivate the fuel gauge. Chrysler realized owners were doing so, but would later put a shut-off switch in the glovebox in later models.
The system also could accommodate several languages, including French for Canadian models and Spanish for those models sold in Mexico.
Chrysler equipped EVA in 24 vehicles from 1983 to 1988. More upscale front-wheel-drive (FWD) models like the Chrysler New Yorker would come standard with the system, but it was optional on other models like the Dodge Daytona and Dodge 600 Sedan.
Today, the EVA system isn’t just a showpiece of Chrysler Engineering from the 1980s but has become a thing of 1980s pop culture. Several videos have hit the internet showing the EVA system’s synthesized voice (like the ones above) causing many car collectors who are looking for something unique from the 1980s to purchase one of the EVA-equipped cars for a reasonable price. This is if they can be found.