More than half of UK parents “dream drive” - which means they set out on the road with the sole intention of getting their little-one to sleep. In the process, they produce excessive carbon emissions (around 70kg of CO2 per family per year). Electric vehicles solve the problem of CO2 emissions, but for these parents, they create a challenge. They’re virtually silent. There’s no soothing hum to send the baby off to sleep.
Nissan asked us to find a creative solution to this problem. A “zero-emissions lullaby”. An in-car soundscape that recreates the effect of the combustion engine, without the ecological cost.
Alongside Nissan’s engineers, we identified the differences between EV and combustion vehicles through simulated drives and frequency visualisations. This enabled them to pinpoint what sounds and frequencies send babies and young children to sleep. As a studio, we’re heavily driven by the latest neuroscience research. Evidence tells us that the low rumble of the combustion engine, along with the vibration and motion of driving, affects the nervous system. This combination of sound, vibration, and movement is key when it comes to inducing sleep.
A combustion engine creates a complex mix of sound waves, frequencies and harmonic overtones (higher notes), generated by the sound of the engine, tyres on the road and air moving around the car. These sounds are similar to the frequencies in a string orchestra, generating a mixture of white, pink and brown noise frequencies.
We incorporated the frequencies found in combustion engines into the lullaby soundscape and created “Nissan Dream-drive” - a five three-minute tracks, the soundscape mimics the peaceful audio frequencies of a humming combustion engine, but without the carbon cost.This means parents can use the car to help their baby sleep, without worrying about emissions. And it means the sleep-enhancing sounds continue, even when the car stops moving.
And another world-first… Because we integrated the sounds of the car into the music, Nissan Leaf is the first car to be credited as an artist on digital music platforms!
To date, the dream drive album has been downloaded more than 150k times. It received the 2021 Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation and Engagement Award (SABRE), ahead of 400 shortlisted projects and 2,000 entries. This was the fifth global industry award to recognise our pioneering work in sound design.