Electric Car Range Extender

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with bb7!

Battery solutions for short-range electric vehicles so drivers can embark on those long (and potentially strange) trips.

Project Scope

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

The problem with short range electric cars is simple: electric car owners have between 80 to 200 miles of range in their cars until the battery must be recharged.

For most drivers, the 80-mile range of the vehicle is sufficient for daily trips. However, the premise of going beyond that range leads to a phenomenon with these car owners 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.

Road barriers

Aside from the anxiety about range limitation, short range electric vehicle drivers often confront other issues. Electric cars are still in their infancy so there is a lack of infrastructure for drivers to recharge their cars. When they do find a charging station, drivers feel the charging times are long.

Barriers to purchase an electric automobile include apprehension about new technology, car cost, battery cost, and the inconvenience of installing a recharging station. Buyers often perceive gasoline-powered vehicles to be cheaper and more reliable.

Designers, start your engines!

bb7’s design team started their journey with thorough 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 that plagues electric car drivers and prevents new purchases – battery range. They developed multiple conceptual solutions that can alleviate the problem and keep drivers on the road, worry-free.

Driving Change

Concepts ranged from “mild to wild.”  The leading solution was the range extender pack – REXpack – which would be swappable at service stations. By merely attaching another fully charged REXpack 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 battery replacements. 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.

bb7's design team explored multiple concepts - ranging from mild to wild - as potential solutions to battery extension.

A journey map displays the experience – ideal or actual – a user has with a product or service. Journey maps allowed the team to experience the product from the perspective of the end user.

The team generated multiple concepts for the REXpack - the battery range extender.
Another option for a portable recharging station. Drivers could schedule recharges to be delivered to their location, anytime.

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