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Sierra Daily

Jul 28, 2011

Vroom, Vroom: Electric Cars Raise the Volume

The Obama administration is working on rules that could mandate that otherwise silent electric and hybrid cars emit some kind of sound to alert blind, hard-of-hearing, and otherwise unsuspecting pedestrians of their presence. To some it may sound like an overreach of the nanny state, but most pedestrians take for granted the idea that they’ll be able to hear a 3,700-pound vehicle as it approaches them.

Fortunately, Ford has risen to the clarion call, offering the public a listen to four of the sounds, from traditionally carlike to vaguely spaceship-y, that it is considering for its upcoming 2012 Focus electric. “We’re trying to find a distinct sound that’s pleasing to customers and alerts them of an on-coming vehicle,” said Dave McCreadie, Noise/Vibration Supervisor for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, in a press release. “This sound needs to be something that can be integrated into a person’s sound spectrum so they can immediately recognize the noise and associate it with an EV approaching the rest of their lives – just like we do with emergency vehicle sirens.” Alas, none of the sounds the electric Focus will emit will sound like a beefy Sean Connery-era Aston Martin, whose front end the more prosaic Focus resembles.

--Reed McManus

Image: Ford Motor Company

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