One of the many controversial points currently ridiculing the electric car is the lack of an audible mechanical engine noise, which come normally in cars with internal combustion engines. And the reason why the lack of an engine sound is controversial is for safety reasons: pedestrians with impaired vision or hearing may not realize that an electric car is coming and that can lead to an accident. The solution: companies are now working to introduce artificial engine noises to supplement for the lack thereof.
With Ford just coming around to introducing their latest effort in the electric car segment, the all-new Focus electric, the Dearborn make has decided to poll its Facebook fans and followers to help develop an artificial engine sound for the Ford Focus Electric.
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“The poll tells us two things: Without a question, people are interested in the future of electric vehicles, and they want to be heard,” said Scott Monty, Ford digital and multimedia communications manager. “Consistent with our overall approach to social media, we’ve given customers a chance to have a voice and we’ve gone the extra step of acknowledging their input and building it into our business process.”
In addition to the near 300 participants from Facebook, nearly 3,400 Ford employees were also asked to chime. So far, only four sounds meet the criteria that FoMoCo is trying to achieve and have been chosen for the final round.
“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. “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.”
Refresher: The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is powered by a 100-kilowatt electric-motor with a 23 kWh batter. Working together the system produces 123-hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Ford says that the Focus Electric can travel at a top speed of 84 mph and has a total range of up to 100 miles on a single charge. With the 240-volt home charging station, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric can reach full charge in 3 to 4 hours. On a standard 120-volt outlet, the Focus Electric will take up to 20 hours.
2012 Ford Focus Electric:
– By: Chris Chin