Could “Car Tones” Be Next?

Not long ago, I was almost injured at an airport.  An employee was speeding through the concourse on a golf cart in the same direction I was walking.  As he approached from behind, he barely missed me as I moved from one side of the hallway to the other.  

I never heard him coming.  Between the ambient noise of the airport and the near-silence of the golf cart, I had no warning of any potential splattering.

This got me thinking about electric cars.  A Prius is quiet enough, but what about the incoming flood of all-electric vehicles?  Cats make more noise than these things.  

There’s a guy in my neighbourhood who has a Tesla Roadster.  The thing is damn quick but all you hear is the subtle whine of the motor and some tire noise.  No exhaust roar, no barking gear changes.  It’s even more eerie when he calmly cruising through residential streets and pulls to a stop.  Total silence.

The benefits of electric cars far outweigh the downsides.  But they are dangerously silent.  If you’re a pedestrian, a cyclist or a dog, you can’t hear them coming.  

This is where “car tones” come in.  Ford (among others) is researching what sounds an electric car should make.

Here are two of my favourites.  First, the fighter jet:


 Second, the teleporter:


This is a good start.  I’d also like to request the following:

  1.  Millenium Falcon
  2. PeeWee Herman’s bike
  3. A Battlestar Galactica Colonial Fighter
  4. Ferrari 458
  5. A 747-400 at maxium takeoff thrust.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38319 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Could “Car Tones” Be Next?

  • I'll stay with the Star Wars theme, and I'd request the sound that the Tie-Fighters made.

  • That could be the next big thing in downloadables. Just as there are ringtones for your phone, you could download car sounds that could be changed out for the driver. One day I might want to sound like a Chevy 454, the next day have the Knight Rider theme play while driving. And if it's outside and not inside where its heard, you could even go for commercial applications. Subsidize my ride by me playing audio jingles for XYZ Business if my car goes under 30kph.


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