2012 Ford Focus Electric at 2011 Geneva Motor Show, photo by Robert Llewellyn

2012 Ford Focus Electric at 2011 Geneva Motor Show, photo by Robert Llewellyn

The days of the almost silent electric car are gone.  Motivated by a severe case of liticaphobia - or the fear of lawsuits - the auto industry has already agreed that electric cars should have some form of audible warning system fitted as standard to alert pedestrians of their approach. 

But while noise generators are now an accepted part of any electric car design, the noise they make isn’t, which is why Ford has turned to social media site Facebook for help. 

In preparation for the launch of its 2012 Ford Focus Electric, the automaker has asked Facebook Fans to help choose the sound the car will make at low speed. 

With four noises to choose from, Ford is asking for fans to place them in order of preference, from favorite to least favorite. 

Interestingly, all four noises from Ford’s acoustic laboratories are much more striking than Nissan’s audible warning on the 2011 Leaf, which we proved earlier this year doesn’t really work

While one of the sound designs Ford has placed in the list sounds a little like the noise of a gasoline or diesel engine fed through a hollywood effects unit, the other three sounds have a distinct air of science fiction about them. One in particular sounds as if it would be more at home in the U.S.S. Enterprise than a family hatchback, while another sounds a little like a jet plane readying itself for takeoff. 

As well as placing the sounds in order of preference, Ford is asking its Facebook fans to list adjectives they’d like to associate with the sound they think the 2012 Ford Focus Electric should make. 

So far, many of the fans commenting have put the jet-like sound at the top of their list - but with the stipulation that it be possible to either customize or turn it off the warning system. 

Metaphorically then, most fans feel they have their hands tied. If they have to chose a sound they will, but one message is clear. 

Electric car owners generally don’t want their cars to make a noise. 

Which noise would you choose, and why? Let us know in the Comments below, and be sure to let Ford know on its Facebook page too. 

 

 

 

 

 

[Ford via Gas 2.0]