The banshee wail of a Prius headed in reverse is just one example of the countermeasures car manufacturers are taking to ensure pedestrian safety from otherwise silent electric vehicles. Without the reassuring grumble of a gas engine, these whisper-quite cars stand to endanger those in parking lots and crosswalks the world over. Yesterday, the government announced plans to mandate electric vehicles alert systems, and Ford, for one, is taking steps to develop sounds for its forthcoming 2012 Ford Focus Electric, including Facebook polling.

Each potential pedestrian alert was posted on YouTube and is available by clicking on one of the four videos embedded below.

Choice A sounds like an intergalactic coffee machine, brewing a Martian mochachino:


Choice B sounds like a subtle leaf blower you use in your Zen garden:


Choice C sounds like a tiny bamboo didgeridoo harkening all to some tribal rite:


Choice D sounds like a hairdryer as heard through the bathroom door of a space shuttle:


Some from the Facebook peanut gallery objected to all four: "At least make it sound like a car, and offer several choices like a Mustang GT, a regular Focus or an RS Focus rally car," one wrote.

Ford also asked which word should describe the sound with options including futuristic, precise, clean, and quiet.

One cryptic commenter wrote, "How about supercharged Stang with a pair of Cherry Bombs?" Here's to sonic innovation!


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