When EV fans were told that manufacturers would have to fit noise generators to warn pedestrians of impending danger, they heaved a collective sigh of disappointment. One of the electric car's biggest unique selling points, that of near silent travel, had been taken away.
Except that it hadn't. Demonstrations of the 2011 Nissan Leaf's Blade Runner-esque whoosh that was inaudible from inside the car proved that for driver and passengers at least, EV travel would still be as silent as they'd hoped.
It wasn't too long before people started speculating on the option to customise the sound your EV produced though, going as far to say they might be downloaded, MP3-style, from the internet.
So here, AllCarsElectric brings you our list of sounds we'd love to hear coming from our EVs...
If it's possible for a sound to be ironic, this is the one. What better irony than your new zero-emissions EV putting out a sound reminiscent of the best cartoon-esque jalopy, spluttering and backfiring down the road? All you'd be missing is the smoke, as that's the one thing EVs can't do. There are safety benefits too though - what better sound to alert pedestrians to your presence than a loud explosive backfire?
Give that metallic blue 2011 Nissan Leaf some menace - download a Star Wars Tie-Fighter noise. Complete the illusion with a set of stormtrooper costumes to scare the greeters at the local Wall-Mart. The piercing screech of an Imperial Tie-Fighter is sure to get you noticed... just watch out for Red Leader.
Putting a sea-shell to your ear is supposed to give you a sound like the waves on a beach. Go one better and make your EV sound like it's driving through a constant puddle. We already know the Leaf has been waterboarded for your safety, so now do it for the safety of others - nothing has a pedestrian running like a car about to splash them...
EVs are the future. The Jetsons were the future at one point. Combine the two in a glorious vision of past and present futuristic ideals. The pleasant 'whistling thribble' (how would you describe the noise, huh?) suits futuristic EVs down to the ground. When the Aptera 2e finally hits the market, we might just have the perfect noise for it.
If you watched any games from the South Africa-based 2010 FIFA World Cup, you'll be familiar with the 'swarm of bees' sound of ten thousand vuvuzelas being blown around a stadium. Download the sound for your EV, and you can bring the 'joy' to thousands of others on your commute, or simply give your kid's soccer practice a bit of atmosphere as you drive around the car park.
Take your 21st century transport back to the 19th century. Up to the 20mph or so that your EV's noise switches off, you can give it the gait of a horse. Walking, trotting, cantering and a full gallop depending on your speed. A street full of EVs with this sound effect could have a pleasing Grand National vibe about it. Turn the 'traffic light grand prix' into a literal two-horse race.
Nothing fades into the background like white noise. In fact, white noise is the background. Make your EV sound just like the other noises of the city, the chatter of people, road drills, other traffic. Of course, this doesn't really help pedestrians, who won't distinguish it from the actual noises of the city. Best give your EV some television static then. The 'other' white noise.
See? The possibilities are endless. The line should possibly be drawn somewhere of course - we're not sure a constant loop of Snoop Dogg lyrics would be very public-friendly, nor would a compliation of what could best be described as 'bedroom sounds', so perhaps the manufacturers should have a monopoly on downloadable sounds.
We're sure there's something in the list above for everyone though (okay, maybe not), but if you have any other thoughts, feel free to share them with us using the comments box below.
As for us, we're off to bug Nissan for a Jetsons Leaf...