BMW together with a couple of partners announced a while back the development of a fast-charging network across Europe which would be known as IONITY. It will be made up of 400 stations positioned along all the major routes across the old continent and is supposed to be ready by 2020. Today an announcement was made that BMW subsidiary Designworks will be the team to sign off on the design of the stations.
This is exciting news as the guys from Designworks have signed off on some truly unique creations in all fields up until now. From airplane cabins to industrial tools, they’ve done it all. 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.
“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.
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 continued.