How UX helped the automobile industry turn tables
Understand the phenomenon
Since the very first modern highway-capable electric vehicles (EV) took to the roads in the 2000s, there has been a buzz whether this is the right time for the EV market to grow. Undoubtedly, the transition to electric vehicles is irrefutable. The global electric vehicle market is expanding with major players like Tesla, Nissan, and Kia as the forerunners of the revolution.
Understanding the phenomenon
An electric vehicle (EV) is the one that operates on an electric motor, instead of an internal-combustion engine (ICE). ICE generates power by burning fuel. With the backdrop of the current environmental crisis, EV is our potential replacement for current-generation automobiles. In the hopes that we can address the issue of rising pollution levels, global warming and most importantly depleting natural resources. Surprisingly, the concept of electric vehicles has been around for a really long time. One of the major reason, why it did not take off all this time, was the lack of technological advancements to produce a vehicle that performs better than a fuel-run vehicle. Today, EV has drawn a considerable amount of interest amid the rising carbon footprint and the hazards of fuel-based vehicles.
Current market scenarios
The EV wave of revolution is indeed gathering strength worldwide since the last decade. The fuel-run vehicles have certainly begun their long farewell. Vietnam is responding to the rising pollution that is worsening the urban life by opting for e-bikes. Germany is experiencing the e-car boom. With the ID.3 — the first electric car from Volkswagen, all pre-orderable models of the car are sold out, even before being presented for the first time at the International Motor Show (IAA). Norway is the country with the largest EV ownership per capita in the world, the world’s largest plug-in electric car market till the end of 2018. Back home, even India’s ambitions for the future of its electric vehicles market remain high and mighty, with the government already on the path to provide encouragement through supportive policies.
Benefits of EV
A brief look at why EV will lead to growth
Following are some of the most compelling reasons to make the shift to EV
- Reduces emission.
- Saves you money in the long run.
- The EVs are more responsive and have good torque
- Adds to the diversity in fuel choices
- Reduces ecological damage
Pitching the idea back home
Automobile leaders paving the path in India
Global leaders like MG are entering Indian markets with their EV SUV bravely. Where the leading Indian automotive company, TATA Motors is launching TATA Nexon EV at the beginning of 2020. The video campaign, #TheUltimateElectricDrive, focuses on testing of the vehicle done by celebrity Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar. The campaign is split into several episodes where the celebrity couple drive the EV from Manali to Leh, to test. The campaign is designed to break existing barriers to EV adoption in India such as range anxiety, lack of charging infrastructure and performance capabilities. TATA Motors plans on making EVs more accessible to Indian customers.
The agents of change
The design has a much larger role to play in the success of EV. Design is not just the physical appearance of a product but the overall experience a customer is provided. We’re well aware that, over the past decade and into the future, user experience has been and will continue to be the deciding factor in transforming businesses.
Customer experience has essentially been the key to the success of one of the best brands in the world like Apple. Companies like Tesla are gradually eclipsing the ICE vehicles, with their ideas and connected digital and physical experiences. This success is the result of providing not only eye-catching products but also offering distinctive customer experiences. Considering the user’s journey of the vehicle, one of the foundations of designing the customized experience is necessary.
When it comes to designing the best experience of an electric vehicle, right from the performance, aesthetics and the build quality of the vehicle cannot be compromised upon. The battery being the heart of the vehicle, should be taken care of the most. Designing interiors of the car with environment-friendly material like man-made leather, offering intuitive features as rain sensor vipers. Offering features like portable charger along with multiple charging options usable in various scenarios such as — a. in case the user runs out of charge or b. the user is traveling outskirts. Even the experience designed at the time of a product launch adds to the overall performance of the brand. No one in the auto industry except Tesla has managed to provide a spectacle of experience to their audience.
With the introduction of EV, the automotive industry is witnessing a transformation from selling non-luxury and luxury vehicles to now selling connected, technology-led vehicles.
Already a Success
EV is a promising future business model. The future of EV looks bright because of the factors mentioned below:
- Customers preferences influenced by experience design
- Battery costs that are coming down, increasing the potential buyers’ market
- Lenient and friendly government policies, regulations weighing in for the EV-led future
- Infrastructure development by government preparing a favorable environment for the demand of EV to increase.
The Ripple Effect
Disruption in connected industries
The success of EV is way bigger when viewed from a cross-industry perspective. As electric vehicles come to market, one can anticipate disruption across multiple sectors and industries like travel, transport, and logistics. A major potential growth in the battery recycling market, EV charging stations and public EV chargers alike. Potential investment opportunities of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, a robust recycling infrastructure for EV batteries and so on.
A True Automobile Revolution
A number of social, economic, and technological trends are adding to the disruption of urban mobility. In another decade, this connected vehicle innovation could radically transform everything from power systems to the use of public space.
Electric vehicles are definitely not an elixir but, combined with greater deployment of renewables and the decarbonization of the electricity grid, offer a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And this is just scratching the surface.