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Ford’s new fragrance recreates the smell of gas for our EV future — why that's a terrible idea

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E review
(Image credit: Ford)

Electric cars are just like gasoline cars in most respects, and that’s likely to work in their favor. After all, people are more inclined to pick up an EV if it’s pretty much the same as internal combustion one they already have.

Then again, there are some key differences between electric and ICE cars that we should leave be. Because electric cars can do better certain things over gas guzzlers, and manufacturers shouldn't be trying to replicate the more noxious aspects of fuel injection.

I say this because Ford has just announced a new kind of fragrance, one that promises to recreate “the evocative smells of traditional [gasoline] cars.” Yes, really, this announcement was made. And no, as far as I can tell, we didn’t accidentally travel back to April 1.

So why is this happening? According to a Ford-commissioned study, one in five drivers claim that the smell of gasoline is the thing they’d miss the most about switching to an electric vehicle. What’s more, 70% of respondents claim they’d miss that smell to some degree.

So Ford has made a fragrance to help these people acclimate to a vehicle that doesn’t use a pungent fuel to get around. The fragrance is “designed to help usher these drivers into the future of driving through their sense of smell,” according to Ford. “Rather than just smelling like petrol though, Mach-Eau is designed to please the nose of any wearer; a high-end fragrance that fuses smoky accords, aspects of rubber and even an ‘animal’ element to give a nod to the Mustang heritage.”

This is a stunt, no doubt about it, since Ford isn’t actually going to sell this fragrance to the public. Instead this is designed to “help dispel myths around electric cars and convince traditional car enthusiasts of the potential of electric vehicles.”

But there could well be a market for this sort of thing, because there are people out there who like the smell of gasoline. Much like how there are devices on the market that let electric cars recreate the traditional engine and exhaust sound. 

Some people associate these things with driving so much, and they may try their best to recreate them when faced with driving a car that does neither. We should absolutely not do this, or entertain any notion of it. 

Let electric cars be electric cars, because the lack of burning fuel and engine noise are some of the best things about current-driven propulsion.

Sure, there are other benefits to EVs. Regenerative braking, cheaper refueling and maintenance costs, are just two examples of that in action. But the fact that quick explosions aren't jettisoning out the exhaust and filling the atmosphere with smog is a big one.

Not only do electric vehicles not spew out some nasty pollution at ignition, recharging doesn’t leave traces of electrical smell in the air the same way gas and diesel does. 

And electric cars are damn-near silent. A lot of them make some sort of noise at low speeds, more out of safety for pedestrians than anything else, and there’s the high-pitched whine produced by the motor when driving at high speeds. But in comparison to traditional car engines, EVs are pretty much silent.

Honestly I can’t wait for EVs out number ICE cars. Can you imagine how much more peaceful the world is going to be without the constant roar of traffic? It crosses my mind every time I have to walk down a busy street. I’m hoping there will be a noticeable improvement in the air as well.

Let electric cars be electric, and any olid byproducts can be left to fade away with the internal combustion engine.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.