The advent of the electric car has presented a number of challenges. Chiefly, how far can we travel on a single charge and how do we charge them? Now, Nissan is hoping to answer a more unlikely question: how will my baby get to sleep now there’s no engine noise?
Which is why the Nissan Leaf will sing your baby a lullaby, which is available to download on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, YouTube and Deezer.
Indeed, Nissan research revealed that over half of all UK parents resort to a ‘dream drive’ to get their little ones off to sleep. This is a car journey with the specific purpose of getting a baby to nod off. Nearly two thirds (62 percent) do this once a week.
Now Nissan has created its ‘Dream Drive’ lullaby, in collaboration with sound designer and sleep coach, Tom Middleton. It blends sounds made by the Leaf, with the kind of frequencies you’d get from a combustion engine. The result is what Nissan calls a ‘hypnotic soundscape to help send young children to sleep in the car’.
Seventy percent of parents reckon that it’s the movement of their car that gets their kids to sleep. Not unlike rocking a cot. Research reveals that those now-lost engine sounds are a key contributor, too.
The trouble is, with engine sounds, come pollution and expenditure. On average, ‘dream drives’ are a 20 to 25-minute job, covering around five miles. It’s estimated that they generate around 70kg of CO2 per family per year. They’re costing UK parents a collective £33.5million in fuel. Nissan wants the Leaf, and the ‘Dream Drive’ lullaby, to be the antidote to this.
“Although an electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf is a more environmentally considerate choice for ‘dream driving’; the quiet soundscape of an EV might not be as effective as ICE cars,” said Paul Speed-Andrews, noise and vibration development manager at Nissan.
“Combustion engines transmit a sound frequency, a combination of white, pink and brown noise varied in tone – creating an orchestral soundscape that is especially soothing and comforting to young children.”
Extensive work was put into identifying what exactly it was about internal combustion-powered cars that’s ‘hypnotic’. It simulated, compared and recorded sounds from both the Leaf driving, and fuel-powered cars, isolated the differences. With its findings, it then set out to record all of the sounds of a typical drive in a Qashqai. Those sounds were then used in order to create the lullaby.
“One of the biggest worries new parents have is how to get their baby to sleep,” said parenting expert, Elizabeth O’Shea.
“Parents soon realise that taking a drive in the car or ‘dream driving’ is a great way to get a baby or young child to nod off. But how interesting that it’s the sound frequencies of a combustion engine, rather than the movement, that helps children fall asleep. With the 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf, environmentally aware parents now have a simple, guilt-free solution to gently lull their little ones to sleep.”