bb7 produces new solutions to alleviate range anxiety for owners of electric vehicles.
Madison, WI – September 12, 2017
Product development and design firm, bb7 unveils solutions to solve an obstacle plaguing the electric vehicle market: battery range anxiety. Electric car owners often ask themselves, “how far can I drive my electric vehicle between charges and what happens if I run out of electricity?” bb7 designed new concepts for battery extension.
Currently, car owners have between 80 and 200 miles of range in their short-range electric cars until the battery must be recharged. For most drivers, the 80-mile range of the vehicle is sufficient for daily trips.
However, the prospect of going beyond that battery range affects these car owners in a phenomenon called “range anxiety.”
Owners try to increase their driving range by shutting off fans, air conditioning, heaters/defrosters, radio, windshield wipers and other “unnecessary” functions to ensure they can reach the destination before they run out of power.
In addition, the bb7 concepts address barriers to purchase. Electric automobile purchase barriers include apprehension about new technology, car price, battery cost, battery life, and the necessity of installing a recharging station. Buyers often perceive gasoline-powered vehicles to be cheaper and more reliable.
bb7’s design team started with design research. The team analyzed the products, users, use cases and the market, employing a mix of design tools including journey mapping and in-depth interviews to establish user personas. bb7 focused on solving the core issue plaguing electric car drivers and preventing new purchases – battery range. They developed multiple conceptual solutions that can mitigate the problem and keep drivers on the road, worry-free.
“When we work on the ‘fuzzy front end of innovation,’ we use tools like persona development and journey mapping. It’s exciting to uncover insights and create solutions for problems that have just surfaced or have never existed before,” said Nicholas Higbee, Director of Industrial Design & User Research at bb7.
Concepts ranged from “mild to wild.” The leading solution was a range extender pack which would be swappable at service stations. By attaching a fully-charged extender pack on the car, the driver would not have to worry about running out of power or waiting several hours to charge the main battery. The process is analogous to refueling an internal combustion vehicle at a service station.
Other potential solutions included a mobile charging pack, an adaptor to make all electric vehicles compatible with the most common charging station, and options to transport more replacement batteries.
The “wild” concept was a new service offering, in which a recharging service provider brings a portable recharging station to drivers. The drivers could schedule recharges anywhere, on-demand. These solutions can be adopted through short term rental, leasing or post vehicle purchase, thereby keeping the initial investment in the vehicle to a minimum.
“The design team at bb7 is always inspired by blue-sky concept work – it allows them to spread their wings. Early in the ideation process, the team worked with the electrical and mechanical engineers to understand weight, size, battery life, and other technical challenges that might lie ahead. We’re always thinking, ‘how are we going to make this thing?’” said Higbee.
Please contact bb7 for additional information at 608.224.0377.