BMW hired German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer to work with in house sound designer Renzo Vitale to develop audio features for the Concept i4 EV revealed on line this week (in lieu of a planned Geneva show debut).
BMW IconicSounds Electric will, the automaker said, “imbue [our] electric models with extra emotional depth by connecting the driver with the vehicle’s character on another level through individual tones and sounds”.
“Renzo and I were inspired to bring together the past and future of BMW with the sound for the Concept i4,” said Zimmer.
“We hope the sound we created is classic yet surprising and has a feeling of lightness that is fitting for the BMW brand.”
The sounds – aural repertoire in BMW PR-speak – range from driving sounds in the Experience Mode Core to the more intense tones of Sport. Acoustic accompaniments to a door opening and when starting the car are included.
Zimmer and Vitale developed a new start/stop sound in Zimmer’s Santa Monica, California, studio back in November 2019.
The ready to drive sound for all electric BMW models and plug in hybrids will be introduced as a standard feature worldwide from July 2020.
“The ability to design the sound in our vehicles makes it possible for us to spark positive emotions,” said Vitale.
“The new start/stop sound is intended to instil a sense of excitement at the prospect of electric driving when the customer gets into their vehicle and begins the journey.”
The automaker said the silence of electric drive systems is often cited as a major benefit of electric mobility but, as the choice of electrified models increases, some drivers are missing out on the emotional appeal of sound.
According to customer and brand chief Jens Thiemer: “Sound has always played an important role in the emotionalisation [sic] of our vehicles. This collaboration will result in our forward-looking sound offering for electrified vehicles.”
Zimmer developed sound for the Vision M Next shown in Munich in June 2019.
“We have an extraordinary opportunity to turn electric driving into a very special experience with the help of great sounds,” he said at the time.
Video (and sound) here