The first European fast-charge network for long-distance travel is planning 400 stations along major routes across Europe by the end of 2020.
Munich. For nearly 50 years now, Designworks has been shaping the face of the mobility of tomorrow. One of the design agency’s most recent projects consists of a commission from IONITY to design a European high-power-charging (HPC) network for electric vehicles. IONITY is a joint venture between the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen AG pursuing the objective of making e-mobility ready for long-distance travel.
IONITY design to dispel concerns about range.
IONITY has briefed Designworks to design the charging station architecture, the charger pylons, and the digital interaction concept. The designers’ commission consists of furnishing IONITY with a recognizable, welcoming and leading-edge visual identity in Europe, whilst significantly improving the electric charging experience. The goal is to dispel concerns about range and make electromobility more attractive for long-distance travel. “For selection of the design partner, our criteria included a comprehensive understanding of future mobility as well as experience outside of the automotive industry, competence in both analog and digital interfaces, pronounced intercultural expertise, and the ability to develop concepts with a view to future contexts,” says Michael Hajesch, CEO at IONITY. “In creating the first Pan-European HPC network, we are looking to give electromobility a boost toward a breakthrough in Europe. Design, with the tremendous potential it has to reach people and influence them in a positive manner, is a key factor for us here”, Hajesch added.
A face for fast electric charging in Europe.
Using IONITY’s corporate identity and the core issues of e-mobility as a starting point, the design team developed an independent aesthetic vocabulary intended to establish IONITY fast-charging stations as beacons along Europe’s principal transport routes. In alignment with the spirit of e-mobility, the charging station-architecture transmits a sense of space that is open, light, clear, and user-friendly. It was important to the team that the design be highly inviting in character. Therefore, the creative concept of the IONITY station translates the DNA of hospitality into an architectural ambience radiating a special kind of appeal, day and night.
The design aesthetics of the charging station can also be seen in the charging pylons: Streamlining all elements down to their geometrical foundation, well-defined, large radii, taut surfaces, and balanced proportions contribute to the overall inviting impression and give the charging pylon a welcoming appearance. In an intuitive manner, the clear design conveys the user friendliness and speed in charging, which has significantly increased in comparison to today’s standard. The seamless integration of a touchscreen user interface, holder, and charger plug contribute to this clarity, reinforcing the message of an uncomplicated user experience.
At night, the charging pylons will be illuminated with what appears to be a free-floating light ring, seated on top of the slender charger’s body, using light or color changes to communicate information about charge status to users.
“In order to create holistic experiences, it is imperative to give product and interaction design equal attention and to ensure an integrated process”, says Holger Hampf, president of Designworks. “The design of IONITY´s charging poles conveys the value of this approach: We have involved customers in the design process and thought about every analogue and digital detail until we reached a solution that will truly enable a new kind of charging experience” he continues.
Design for the mobility of tomorrow.
The name Designworks has been behind a variety of pioneering mobility projects in the automotive, aviation and rail industry as well as in the fields of infrastructure, construction and agriculture. With the IONITY station design, Designworks is adding a further milestone to its portfolio along the path to the mobility of tomorrow and shaping the face of what is currently one of Europe’s most exciting infrastructure projects.
IONITY is planning to have 400 stations along Europe’s major highways up and running by the end of 2020. The charging stations, each of which will be offering up to six chargers are equipped with the latest e-charging technology. They will be easily accessible for the public situated at a distance of approximately 120 km from each other. IONITY uses the European charging standard “Combined Charging System” (CCS) with a charging capacity of up to 350 kW and thereby will provide cross – brand compatibility with most present day and future electric vehicles. IONITY is dedicated to making electro mobility a feasible proposition for long-distance journeys. The joint venture has been established by partners with an equal share in the business and welcomes further partners interested in expanding the network over the medium to long term.
From 11–15 June 2018, IONITY and Designworks will jointly present the design of the new charging poles at CEBIT, Europe’s Business Festival for Innovation and Digitization. At a podium talk on 14. June, Holger Hampf (President of BMW Group Designworks) and Frank Plaschka (Manager Communications at IONITY) will discuss the role of design in shaping tomorrow’s mobility solutions. (Hall 26, Expert Stage, Start 10.30 AM).