BMW Hires Legendary Composer to Make Electric Vehicles Really Hum

Auto and movie makers have taken fire recently for making on-screen electric cars sound like their gas-engine equivalents. So BMW is doing something about it by hiring a legendary cinematic composer and music producer nominated for more than 50 awards, to help make the Vision M Next sound a little more emotional.

The hum and whir of the electric motor, or the strange otherworldly sound that electric cars generate so that they can be heard by those who can't see them, might be the sound of the future, but it's not at all the sound of emotion. At least not as far as the automobile is concerned. It's why movies like Avengers: Endgame added fake engine noises to electric cars. Much to the chagrin of very passionate and very vocal EV fans across the internet.

Fake engine noises are nothing new, but it's usually a big V8 swapped in for a quiet, puttering four, not a big V8 for a silent whir. But BMW knows that sound is important for road cars, not just silver screen cars. "We want to get BMW IconicSounds Electric in position for customers who value emotional sound. With BMW IconicSounds Electric they will be able to experience the joy of driving with all their senses", said Jens Thiemer, a VP with BMW.

So to help the teams of engineers who spend years tuning exhausts, BMW has reached out to composer Hans Zimmer. Zimmer has composed and produced more than one hundred movie soundtracks and scores, winning an Academy Award and four Grammys. He's responsible for the music you've heard on films like Twister, Days of Thunder, The Lion King, Crimson Tide, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and countless more. Zimmer knows how to get emotion from sound.

"When the driver interacts with the accelerator pedal it is not only a mechanical touchpoint but also a performative element. Accelerating becomes an experience during which the driver moves through a series of gradually morphing sound textures," Zimmer said.

The new soundscape will be called BMW IconicSounds Electric. It's set to debut on the BMW Vision M Next concept, which will make its premiere tomorrow, when we should get our first chance to hear the new model.

Electric, light, orchestra 6/24/2019 4:47:56 PM