Drivers looking to get the most range from their electric cars should listen to Beethoven while behind the wheel, according to a new study by Kia

The South Korean manufacturer has been investigating the effect that different music can have on a driver’s behaviour, with Kia’s findings revealing that calming music can make a motorist drive four times as efficiently than other songs. 

Using Kia’s new EV6 electric car, the study was overseen by Dr Duncan Williams, a lecturer at the University of Salford’s School of Science, Engineering and Environment. 

Kia invited a range of participants, all of whom had never driven an electric car before, to pilot its EV6 for a fixed 18-mile route, with all listening to the same music playlist, incorporating a range of different artists and genres.


The route took in a mix of town traffic, busty roundabouts, faster dual carriageways and twisty country roads, with the start point being Meridian Audio’s Cambridgeshire HQ – which provides the sound system to the Kia EV6. Drivers were also fitted with a device known as an Empatica E4, which is able to detect data such as skin temperature, heartbeat, and heart rate variability. 

Song choices included Adele’s ‘Hello’, Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No 9 in D Minor’, ‘Fade’ by Kanye West and The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’. 

The findings showed that Beethoven’s music ‘creates a calm, focused and balanced environment’ for participants, with this genre of music said to enable the best real-world driving range, with this song making motorists drive up to four times more efficiently. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the ‘up-tempo’ music from The Weeknd ‘provoked an intense emotion in the test drivers’. Kia said this resulted in a ‘more spirited and energetic driving style’ that encouraged participants to use more of the car’s performance, limiting the range.


Dr Duncan WIlliams said: “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. 

“Different songs resulted in varying electrodermal activity and blood volume increase for each of the participants.This had a knock-on effect on driving style, and ultimately influenced the real-world driving range of the EV6.

“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.”