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For Better Audio Range On Your EV, Get Into Mozart

New data on how music affects mileage – and mind

By Leo Shvedsky
April 22 2022
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Kia’s new EV6. (Adam Warner/GQ)

We all do it. Listening while driving is one of the few acceptable guilty pleasures in today’s woke world.  From music to sports and podcasts, there’s no shortage of foodstuff for the imagination while driving – listening to classical music may not be front-and-center on our playlists, but with recent data demonstrating playing classical music potentially (albeit indirectly) affects mileage range of our cars, we may be more predisposed to integrate Mozart into the mix as well. And why wouldn’t we? Longstanding data has proven the prolific composer’s classics stimulate the mind as well.  

Recently Kia’s U.K. division conducted an interesting and unusual experiment where it tested people as they listened to different kinds of music as they drove the new EV6, which has a primo 14-speaker sound system — and the results were enlightening.  

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Infotainment on Kia EV6. Kia

The experiment was done with several people driving the cars on an 18-mile route, supervised by Dr. Duncan Williams, a psychoacoustics and acoustics expert at the University of Salford in Manchester. As part of the test, participants were asked to simply drive as they normally would playing music they normally do not listen to, and what they found is that gentler ambient sounds like classical Beethoven correlated with higher mileage than upbeat contemporary music (such as) that of The Weekend with following results: 

Results directly from Kia. 
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Unplug when heading into the weekend with Mozart – save on milage too. (Kia) 

Drivers listening to The Weekend’s “Blinding Lights,” which in our opinion is the GOAT banger par excellence, were recorded to have a higher heart rate, corresponding to a more energetic driving style — indicating that their gas pedal activity was slightly more erratic. But those who listened to Beethoven had more fluid and energy-saving driving behavior. 

Dr. Williams said it best, though: “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.” 

OK — more tempo equals less mileage in EVs. So what? After all, less than 1% of all cars on the road in the United States right now are electric, right? Yes, but gasoline-powered cars work in the same way that EVs do when it comes to energy consumption. Hitting the accelerator is hitting the accelerator, whether the car uses an internal combustion engine or stored electrons. You’re still using finite amounts of energy.  

A powerful data point, with gas prices being what they are. So, if you want to save a few bucks, start that Spotify commute playlist with Mozart’s “Turkish March” and if you want to get real spicy, you can throw in Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, saving The Weekend for your Peloton workout. 

Now all we need to do is find room in the closet for the clothes hanging on the Peloton. 

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