The client, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), acquired Saab Automobile in 2012. As part of the acquisition they took over Saab’s classic car factory in Trollhättan, Sweden.
THE SAAB BRAND
Saab is a classic Swedish car brand, famous for its desirable design and nifty technical solutions. Working with Saab together with our talented industrial designers at People People was a great opportunity for us to work with the physical, digital and service aspects of the driving experience.
THE PROJECT CONSISTED OF TWO MAJOR PARTS
- Horizon 1 – Here and now: Interface design for a coming generation of Saab cars
- Horizon 2 – Looking ahead: Challenge and explore driving experiences of our hyper-connected future
"Designing a car today is challenging. Technologies are emerging at a speed never seen before, changing our daily lives and habits at the core. As a car manufacturer it’s important to understand these new technologies and shape something meaningful that actually brings value to passengers and drivers." - NEVS team
HORIZONS AND DESIGN TRAJECTORIES
The project was intentionally set up to address two time horizons in parallel. This enabled us to work actively with design trajectories, i.e. how a concept can be applied here and now with a clear user value, and at the same time point to something even more valuable in the future. For the automotive industry, this way of working is particularly interesting, as the time between concept and a shipping vehicle is normally several years. There is also strong platform thinking in the automotive industry today which means designs need to take future user behaviours and technologies into advantage.
PHYSICAL & DIGITAL
Another compelling aspect of designing for the automotive industry is the tight relationship between physical and digital design. Driving a car is actually a relatively well defined scenario, compared to for example a connected home scenario that is much more open ended. This makes it possible to really fine tune the instersection between physical and digital interactions. Some of the things to consider when making a choice are for example:
- Driver distraction
- Functional priority as well as criticality of function
- If the function will evolve over time
- Regulations in the automotive space
This was one of the first projects we did together with People People. It marked the beginning of a great partnership that’s still ongoing, with many successful projects on our joint resume. We received a nice quote from one of our counterparts at SAAB / NEVS:
People People & Topp put together a team to design and innovate around NEVS driver and passenger experience in their future electric vehicles. The design team set out to find the right balance between the digital & physical, and how to integrate new services and technology without losing the classic values of a car. The ideas that came out of their work were not only innovative, but also made a lot of sense and looked great."