Full Charge Ahead:
Electric mobility is the future of transportation. As the industry continues to grow, so does the need for intelligent public charging stations. EnBW partnered with TEAMS to devise a smarter charging system – starting right in Stuttgart, the birthplace of the automobile.
EnBW is a publicly traded electric utilities company headquartered in Germany. Dedicated to advancing the topic of e-mobility, the energy giant has devoted itself to government and industry collaboration in furthering its mission.
The growth of electric cars prompted the company to take quick action in building charging stations. At the time of the project, EnBw pointed to the growth of e-mobility and market acceptance happening only when the charging infrastructure matches the number of electric vehicles.
Planning concepts for EnBW charging stations meant getting in touch with the city’s infrastructure. Our designers spent time in the city looking at the culture of smart cars and other electric vehicles, how the streets are built, as well as the availability of parking.
Industry Experts at One Table
Bringing great industry minds together meant that TEAMS would host a series of meetings with EnBW’s engineers and marketing department, experts from Bosch, as well as TEAMS skilled group of engineers and designers.
Ulrich Warth, design manager at TEAMS and responsible for the project pointed out the group’s need for good chemistry, “Getting everyone to have unified vision of the design was not always easy, but by respecting each other’s backgrounds and getting to know our team members well, we were able to make complicated decisions with greater ease. We were a makeup of several different companies coming together with differently prioritized goals. Our role was to not only moderate but to drive the project to a common goal.”
Our team of designers drafted the first designs, paying close attention to EnBW’s branding standards, while also closely matching the architecture-style and culture of the Stuttgart region and beyond. Bridging the two areas together meant testing out several designs as prototypes to get a better idea for the look and feel.
Settling the exterior design was one part of the project – but so was making sure the complex functionality could be understand by a range of users. Many e-cars are shared cars with a range of drivers that also exhibit a spectrum of skills: the technologically savvy, the middle-ground and the technologically challenged. By running several usability tests, we could take a closer look at guiding the user through the charging process and ultimately come up with an easy-to-use interface that works with all user groups.
Charging Gains More Traction
TEAMS helped EnBW to set up the first 200 charging stations in the Stuttgart region with a few spilling all the way over to the French border. Helping with the launch meant that TEAMS was there for full-support during the process.
Nearly five years later, the charging stations have been a welcome addition to the Stuttgart area. In 2013, an additional 100 charging stations were implemented and the trend is only expect to increase in the next few years. The electricity supplied to the vehicles is produced exclusively from renewable energy sources.
Warth talked about the significance of the project's success, “We started at ground zero with lots of critical first steps. Everything from engineering all the way to branding – as well as the safety and usability had to be conceptualized, tested, checked and expanded upon. Moving a project of this nature forward to meet quickly growing demand couldn’t have been done without a great deal of flexibility and the ability to understand the needs of multiple stakeholders. Of course, it also helps when you know the region well and can visualize what’s to come next.”