Will your next car be electric?

Published Oct 28, 2013

There are several ongoing EV initiatives in Sweden where Elbil2020 in Hammarby Sjöstad is one. Elbil2020 is citizen driven and aim to make Hammarby Sjöstad a global leader in EV adoption by 2020.

In a newly started research project funded by Energimyndigheten, a research group at KTH in cooperation with Elbil2020 will conduct research on users of EVs. Integrated Product Development at Machine Design will participate in the research project by researching users’ role in EV innovations as well as shedding light on the challenges that early EV users are currently experiencing. This research will be conducted by Dr Jenny Janhager Stier and newly appointed PhD student Jens Hagman.

Jens Hagman, Ph.D. Student at the division of Integrated Product Development with the department of Machine Design.

After the almost disappearance of electric vehicles (EVs) in the late 20th century, EVs are now making a comeback on the grand stage. Many believe that we are in an early stage of global mass adoption of EVs. An almost universal desire to decrease dependence on fossil fuels as well as more able technology has spearheaded this development.

Three projects at KTH have been funded by Energimyndigheten. One involves evaluating an App that has been developed at KTH to address range anxiety, which is one of the most well known problems of electric driving. The range of the charged battery varies with driving conditions and the equipment used in the car. With this App, drivers get instant feedback on how much battery power is left and how long the range is with prevailing driving conditions. The second project is to investigate how the driving patterns are for electric cars and the reason for this driving behaviour. The third project to be implemented at Integrated Product Development at Machine Design is to investigate the users’ attitudes, knowledge and behaviours of EVs and EV driving. Examples of questions that needs to be answered are:

  • Is there a lack of knowledge among car buyers regarding the attributes of EVs? 
  • Why would you buy an EV?
  • What is the main difference of using an EV compared to a petrol car? 
  • What are the main challenges facing users that need to be overcome in order to make the shift possible on a larger       scale? 
  • Does the initial attitude change with actual usage of EVs? 

The research group at Integrated Product Development will also investigate how the product-developing companies work with users and user aspects when the market is still very limited.