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  • Design Work Provides Fundamentals to Help the Explosive Growth of New Energy Vehicles

    13 March 2017
    S.Point, Member Firm (China)

    01: Question

    The auto market is bracing for a revolution brought about by new technologies. According to a report by China Automotive Technology & Research Center, altogether 497,000 new energy vehicles have been sold in China as of late 2015, making China the No.1 new energy vehicle user in the world in terms of vehicle numbers. It is expected that the new energy vehicle market will nearly triple by 2020 to reach 1.45 million units. An explosive growth period is ahead for new energy vehicles in China.

    Just like gas stations for fuel-based vehicles, charging stations decide how fast new energy vehicles may grow in China. PATAC approached S.POINT to refine charging station design, hoping to have a uniform visual appearance for both charging station and vehicle fleets as part of the effort to enhance user experience and utilization. Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) was jointly launched by GM and SAIC for auto technology and design.

    PATAC Automotive Technology Center is a vehicle technology and design center jointly invested by General Motors and the Shanghai Automotive Industry (Group) Corporation. As a corporate entity that is completely independent of its parent company, PATAC not only serves GM and SAIC, but also provides automotive engineering services to other auto companies in China and the Asia Pacific region. This time, PATAC provide new energy vehicles charging pile to Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac three different market positioning of the car brand . S.POINT strategists and designers had to make the same charging station serve three segments comfortably. Also, a sharp visual effect was expected to provide a great user experience.

    02: Insight

    The charging station, complementing the vehicle, has to offer a uniform experience with the vehicle in terms of texture, form factor, and design style. When targeting middle to upper class segments, the charging station shall offer a sense of being premium and provide high-quality experience. It’s just like the Apple approach, whereby everything from packaging to accessories are ready to please with uniform design elements and experience. Thus, we are clear about the goal for PATAC charging station design.

    For consumers, the purchase of new energy vehicles itself represents a cutting-edge lifestyle, energy saving, convenience is the basic demands of such consumers. And in the market ,all different brands, and variety of interface charging pile is no doubt that causing big trouble for the car charging. Through a unified model, the interface of high-performance charging equipment to achieve cross-brand charging, to share the brand of new energy vehicles not only bring more convenient way to obtain energy, there are more potential market development.

    03: Solution

    S.POINT team started from consumer insights in the auto industry. They also learned from classic design elements of the industry. While keeping the fundamental design philosophy of PATAC charging station intact, they employed a curving design to offer visual power and strength. Now with a more streamlined visual appearance, the charging station gave a sense of speed, a common feature of the auto industry. Lines and curves were carefully and cleverly designed following prototypes and trials. Special premium processing was involved to make the visual impacts and effects work.

    In addition, S.POINT designers used different textures to distinguish the three brand names and their targeted positioning. LED lighting was installed at the charging station to indicate charging progress through different colors. A more innovative design involved a hollow pole design so that the charging pole looked lighter, visually more in harmony with premium auto brand names.

    Seemingly small design adjustments were the results of creative thinking based on insights of the strategists. You’ve heard about less is more and details decide it all. The key is to actually implement the philosophy in the field. Small details such as curves, textures, and lighting do help with significant improvement of the experience. The secret to success by S.POINT is to start from design but the work goes far beyond design.

    Original Article 


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