It’s not uncommon that babies and young children fall asleep during car journeys but is it the same for electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf? Contrary to what many believe, it’s the engine noise in cars that make them sleep and not the actual movement.
Considering that electric vehicles are quieter than their combustion engine counterparts, the company came up with a novel idea. They have developed an in-car “lullaby” that mimics the sounds of petrol and diesel engines in electric vehicles to get the same sleep-inducing effects.
Nissan joined forces with a sleep coach, Tom Middleton, to work out the differences between sounds experienced in internal combustion cars and electric vehicles. They first tested the theory using the combustion-powered Nissan Qashqai SUV and the Nissan Leaf electric hatchback. From that data, they were able to record an album to replicate the hum of an engine, creating a “hypnotic soundscape”.
Nissan’s extensive research found that conventional engines are better suited to sleep than electric vehicles. By comparing interior sounds of the Nissan Qashqai to the Nissan Leaf, it’s evident that combustion engines have a much wider range of ‘hypnotic’ frequencies.
How The Nissan Leaf Interior Mimics Combustion Engine Sounds
According to Paul Speed-Andrews, noise and vibration development manager at Nissan: “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 internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.”
He further explained that internal combustion engines transmit a combination of white, pink and brown noise in various tones. These sound frequencies essentially create an orchestral soundscape that is “especially soothing and comforting to young children.”
What Does The Soundtrack Include?
The optimised soundtrack combines a variety of sounds commonly associated with car journeys. This includes engine sounds, indicator clicks and even sounds of interior materials. Nissan confirmed that the final track has “powerful lulling effects for babies and young children”.
According to Nissan’s research, a track of this design will be extremely useful as we transition into a future-focused on electric vehicles. The study involved 1,500 UK consumers with more than half (51%) of parents using what they call “dream drives” to help young kids fall asleep. Two-thirds of parents in the study said that they do such a drive at least once a week.
Parenting expert, Elizabeth O’Shea, said: “One of the biggest worries new parents have is how to get their baby to sleep. 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.”
She continued by stating that it’s a rather interesting conclusion in terms of the sound frequencies of a combustion engine helping children fall asleep instead of vehicle movement. “With the electric Nissan Leaf, environmentally aware parents now have a simple, guilt-free solution to gently lull their little ones to sleep.”
While many want the quiet cabin that electric vehicles offer, many parents of young children would find this incredibly useful. Even though petrol and diesel engines aren’t going away anytime soon, the Nissan Leaf will be ready when the time comes.