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How “design” is both an opportunity and a challenge in the EV segment

Rabbi Calra

Automobile design: Electric Vehicles (EVs) sector is witnessing substantial growth and is set to become the next big thing in the international automobile sector. With the interests of both big and small players on the rise in the sector, new and advanced technology is being introduced every day. 

In a way, the sector offers great opportunities to automobile manufacturers, be it in the two-wheeler, three-wheeler, or four-wheeler segment. Along with the automobile manufacturers, it is also a favorable area for the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to venture into. However, there is an area within the sector, which is both an opportunity and a challenge in itself. The particular extension of the EV industry is “design”. The recent years have seen several small and large players enter the EV segment with their product offerings. Some of these new entrants have also made it big, catering to the rising demand for EVs especially in the two-wheeler, e-rikshaw, and small haulage vehicles segment. But as the sector grows and begins to appeal to a larger audience, design becomes an important factor, that impacts the buyer’s decision.

How “automobile design” is important?

The design of a vehicle is not just how the vehicle looks externally but is a much wider concept. It is the design that decides, how the various parts and functions of a vehicle are placed and impact the overall “workability” of the vehicle. 

Anuj Prasad, CEO of Desmania Design, while speaking with Asian News Makers, shared his insights about the subject. He said, “Design of a vehicle impacts two factors; performance and user experience, and the latter is directly linked with that fact how a user “feels” about the vehicle. In the 12 years that we have been involved in automobile design, we feel it is the most crucial role of a designer is to strike the perfect balance between the two aspects. The vehicle should be best in terms of performance with the given specifications and yet appeal to the user.”

Speaking about the role of design in the EV sector, he said, “Recently, India has seen about 550 players enter the EV sector and most of them are startups. Now, the larger players have big internal capabilities in terms of R&D and design and they can overcome the challenge in that segment. It is the major chunk of 500 odd startups that require assistance in terms of design, that not only complies with the government guidelines but is workable, practical and aesthetically pleasing.”

What automobile designers think

Carlo Bonzanigo is the Founder and Managing Partner of Italy-based Anyma Design. He is visiting India for the recently concluded Auto Expo 2023. While talking to Asian News Makers, he shared the vision of the designer and what motivates an automobile designer. He said, “It is imperative to have a clear vision. At the beginning of a design project, the designer must know what elements to take into consideration and where to lead the design. For every designer, using the right materials that impact the workability of the vehicle is a big challenge.”

The role material plays in a design

Material plays a crucial role in deciding the vehicle’s fate and when it comes to designing an EV, this role becomes all the more important. This is where the role of design engineering comes in. Paolo Bressa is the Product Development Manager at another Italy-based company, SPM Engineering. He said, “EV is a different ball game altogether. Here we have to deal with different technology that involves components that were not available in Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs). Our role as an automobile design engineer becomes very important to choose and work with the right type of materials so the output and performance of the vehicle are not impacted.”

The EV segment offers great opportunity in the area of automobile design and there is still a lot of ground to be covered. With the constantly booming EV sector, the best of the designs is yet to come.

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