May 2022 Editorial

KIA UK research reveals a not-surprising link between music and driving habits

[KIA UK research reveals music can have an impact on driving style]

Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: May, 2022

A recent academic research carried out by KIA UK (the car make), the School of Science, Engineering & Environment at the University of Salford (more precisly Dr. Duncan Williams, a senior lecturer there) and WaveTrace, a psychoacoustics consultancy specializing in the biometric tracking of human responses to sound and music, seems to have scientifically proved something that sounds pretty obvious to me: music can have an impact on driving habits (and fuel consumption). Actually, they tested battery power on EV vehicles when drivers were exposed to different kind of music. Well, it seems that playlists featuring ambient classical pieces can help drivers sustain battery power far better over up-tempo music genres. Surprise surprise, uh?

The testing field was a KIA EV6 electric vehicle with a Meridian stereo 14-speakers sound system, driven over a 18 mile route. The start point was the Meridian Audio's Huntingdon headquarters in Cambridgeshire, UK.

“What we found from only two days of testing was that music really can have a dramatic influence on the real-world driving range of an electric vehicle,”
said Dr Williams, who also added:
“In short: if you want to go further, listen to the likes of Beethoven and other relaxing classical music; if you're not worried about range dropping a little more quickly, by all means put on some more high tempo tracks.”
This is a part of the playlist which has been used and the research findings: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 generates - guess what? - a relaxed, focused and well-balanced environment for the driver, and the final result is a driving style that is composed and level-headed, thus preserving battery power and driving range the best. Test participants drove up to 4x more efficiently while listening to Beethoven than other tracks on the test playlist. Does this mean that Beethoven is boring?

Before taking the EV6 on the 18-mile test run, each test driver was equipped with an Empatica E4, a medical grade wearable device that can monitor various physical parameters (heartrate etc.). The test route was a mix of stop/start in-town traffic, busy roundabouts, and tight residential roads with free-flowing dual carriageways, fast inland open stretches, and dynamic and twisty country roads. In other words, a real world driving environment.

Summarizing: if you wish to save fuel, play Beethoven. I'm adding a sticky note to the dashboard of my Carrera 4S, just in case I forget this wise advice. Instead, if you're wondering which kind of music makes you drive faster, here's a top ten list. My favourite one, which is not included in this list, is Steve Jones's “Freedom Fighter” (see video below). Try to save fuel with this one blowing your speakers...
Actually, the entire album (“Fire and Gasoline”) is highly fuel consuming, you've been warned. And nicely recorded.

Looking down the highway, mate
Thinkin' 'bout a place to run
Show a sign said for trouble makers
Sounds like I'd have some fun

Copyright © 2022 Lucio Cadeddu - -