Title: Influence of car design within the electric mobility market

Authors: René Scherder; Ralf Drauz

Addresses: RWTH Aachen University, Templergraben 64, 52056 Aachen, Germany ' STAUFEN.AG, Blumenstrasse 5, 73257 Koengen, Germany

Abstract: This paper investigates how customers want electric cars to look like in comparison to current cars. A survey gives insight into customer preferences. With the upcoming electric mobility, automotive technology is becoming more homogenous, making design important as differentiation possibility. The survey results overall show big design changes to be of less relevance compared to small or no design changes. Interestingly, this changes, when the participants are informed about the advantages of purpose design. Moreover, the majority does not prefer car design expressing the electric mobility. Here also a gap between German and international participants is observed. German customers have a significantly lower preference of design changes. The design change is differed by the car views front, side, rear, and interior and compared to sex, age and nationality of participants. Also vehicle classes and preferred design visions are compared. Here again, no and small design changes prevail. With regard to the customer point of view, thus the implementation of design-driven innovation in electric mobility needs to be handled with care. Gained insights provide the possibility to derive electric mobility design strategies. The participant's preferences change towards bigger design changes when being informed about purpose design reveals a practical implication for marketing activities.

Keywords: product design; automotive design; electric mobility; aesthetics; design strategy; purpose design; design-driven innovation; customer need; survey research; design change; vehicle design; electric cars; electric vehicles; Germany.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2013.056858

International Journal of Technology Marketing, 2013 Vol.8 No.4, pp.453 - 473

Received: 25 Oct 2012
Accepted: 21 Apr 2013

Published online: 28 Feb 2014 *

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