Design isn’t just what you see, but what you hear too. The increasing popularity of electric vehicles is shifting the attention of car manufacturers to an element that, until a little while ago, had a marginal role in the development of a new model. We’re talking about sound: not just the sound produced by the motor, but also that of many of the car components. Those who best interpret sound as a true stylistic element include Mini, which, with the new Cooper SE, brings a completely new way of conceiving car design to the road.
Renzo Vitale, Creative Director Sound for BMW Group, was in charge of sound for the first, completely electric Mini. His work on the Cooper SE began in 2017 and, in the course of three years, led to the definition of all the car’s sounds, from that of the electric motor, to that of the direction indicators. The search for the most suitable sounds for the new electric vehicle was carried out while working in close contact with the design and marketing teams, to assess the character and positioning of the model together.
Renzo Vitale’s main source of inspiration was the alloy rims and the digital cluster behind the steering wheel. In the first case, the Italian sound designer broke the rims down into four elements: three of the same length and one longer one. The cluster was also divided so as to obtain two curved lines that, together with the elements resulting from the breakdown of the rims, gave life to a series of shapes that bring to mind the movements sound makes in space. The whole, united to the friendly and welcoming image of the vehicle, led to the composition of an outline for the “voice” of the motor that expresses all the brand’s dynamic spirit, projecting it into the future.
A separate piece of work was then undertaken by Vitale for the ignition sound of the Mini Cooper SE. This follows the formation of the Mini logo on the instrument cluster when you push the Start button and is the result of the transformation of the brand’s name into Morse code.