Renault Group

The story behind the sound design with Jean-Michel Jarre - Episode 4: reveal

20 July 2023

Artist, songwriter, electronica pioneer and technology aficionado Jean-Michel Jarre has joined forces with Renault, along with Ircam and the Group’s sound design teams, to develop two types of sounds for the brand’s future electric vehicles: VSPs (Vehicle Sounds for Pedestrians) and the Welcome sound sequence (which plays when you sit in the car).

This series on the story behind the sound design shows you the work in progress and Jean-Michel Jarre’s contribution to it – as an artist as well as an engineer. It also shines a spotlight on an amazing human adventure, and the goals and challenges surrounding sound design, during the countdown to reveal the sounds that will enhance Renault’s next electric model, All-new Renault Scénic E-Tech electric.

The fourth and last episode unfolds around two milestones: regulatory approval for the VSP then Luca de Meo’s green light for the VSP and the sound for the Welcome sequence. The teams were confident and enthusiastic about both.

BY Renault Group

VSPs need official certification before they can be used in electric vehicles and the lab that tests them in France is at UTAC, in Montlhéry, south of Paris. That was where Louis-Ferdinand Pardo, a Renault Group Expert in acoustics and life on board, sighed with relief when the verdict came in: the sound that his team had honed with Jean-Michel Jarre and Ircam, then selected to present to Luca de Meo, had received the seal of approval. The team was familiar with certification requirements, and Renault had started developing the first VSPs for ZOE over a decade earlier, but they had cleared an important milestone nonetheless.

Then came the home stretch: the presentation to Luca de Meo of the VSP and the sound for the Welcome sequence in Renault’s future electric vehicles. The latter has an extra constraint: the audio has to be synched down to the last millisecond with the video animation on the screen.

Jean-Michel Jarre

The Welcome sound sequence in the vehicle is an actual tune, an actual musical creation. Like the VSP, we put a lot of thought into what we wanted it to evoke, what sensations we wanted it to express.

Jean-Michel Jarre
Artist, songwriter and author

In both cases, the top choice that Jean-Michel Jarre’s and the sound design teams had agreed upon was approved. Everyone was right to be proud: the collaboration had worked wonders! Next up, the grand finale: the sounds will be revealed at the International Motor Show in Munich, this 4 September, when The All-new Scénic E-Tech electric is unveiled for the world.

And, in 2024, we will surely hear the sound that Jean-Michel Jarre designed for The All-new Scénic E-Tech and other models when we are walking down the road. This unique sound signature should become a recognisable part of our cities’ soundscape very quickly.

By that time, Jean-Michel Jarre, Ircam’s teams and Renault Group’s teams will be back at work on other projects. The collaboration between the artist and the brand, in fact, has only just begun.