Hyundai’s Chief Designer: EVs Shouldn’t Reek of Aerodynamics

Consider his new term for when a car screams that it’s electric: “Aero Affected.”

Hyundai last year said it will introduce 14 electric cars by 2025. Chris Chapman, senior chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif., has put a lot of thought into how those vehicles will look and feel. We sat down with Chapman last week during a break in our first drive of the Hyundai Kona Electric and the newly designed Nexo fuel-cell car (shown above).

What first grabbed our attention was his use of a term that we hadn’t heard before: Aero Affected. We all know (and are annoyed by) people who are affected. Chapman said the same thing occurs when EVs try too hard to show how they easily slip through the air.

Prior to joining Hyundai as senior chief designer in 2012, Chapman was with the BMW Group at DesignworksUSA. He designed the exterior of the X5 Sport Activity Vehicle – and guided design for the X3 and Z4. Mr. Chapman is also credited with the first-generation BMW 1 Series hatchback.

Given Chapman’s astute observations about EVs, we thought you’d enjoy an edited version of our conversation, in which he captured the feeling of driving an electric car.

InsideEVs: Do you consider the vehicle’s powertrain when you design a car?

Chris Chapman: Not really. The only thing that EVs bring to the equation is the reduction of the things you’re accustomed to with internal combustion engines. You get into an electric car, hit the power button, and nothing really happens. It might light up and say, “I’m ready.” But you don’t have the visceral engagement of an engine starting up.

When you accelerate, there’s no gearing. It’s connected to the bottom of your foot, so you go instantaneously as fast or as slow as you want according to your foot position. It’s the reduction of classic things associated with ICE. It makes an ICE vehicle feel old and outdated.

When you charge the car, you are at home at night. Every morning you wake up with a full charge. But when you have an ICE car, on Monday or Tuesday you’re fine, but maybe by Wednesday you’re down to a quarter of a tank. Even though you could get to work with no hassle, it’s weighing on your mind all day. I have to go fill up before I come home. It’s these small subtle things associated with ICE that are eliminated.

You remove a lot of the hassle of getting from point A to point B. And maybe you actually feel a little energized and rejuvenated.

What are the design implications?

When you’re developing any type of product, there are several groups interacting with one another. For example, the design department is interacting with aerodynamic engineers. For an EV, the aero guys might sit at the head of the table and talk about the targets they need to hit. They are adamant about it because it’s an electric car. But desirable vehicles strike a compromise between design and aerodynamics. One is not more important than the other. You have to draw a line when aero is impacting how the car is being perceived from an aesthetic point of view. You might have to find another way to get a couple of counts down.

Nissan abandoned the generation Leaf’s polarizing aero design.

It becomes graffiti that pollutes the visual landscape.

You’re saying that you can reduce the drag of coefficient without the car looking like a Prius or how the first-generation Leaf used bulging headlights to move the air.

It’s trying too hard to make it look different. You supersede likeability. You’re saying this car must look different than anything on the road. Period. It becomes graffiti that pollutes the visual landscape. And I would argue that it’s not relevant to it being an EV.

Hyundai is planning a lot of electric vehicles so you must be thinking about your future design language for EVs.

When you start driving these vehicles, there is an effortlessness and a serenity. There’s a quiet associated with it. It’s subtle stuff. We’re at the tip of an iceberg and the more people that experience these cars, it will take away the stigma. A year or two ago, everybody was talking about range anxiety. That’s disappearing.

Chapman illustrated the concept of “hidden tech” through phone cases. The Kona EV simplifies the gas version.

Are you saying that the interior and the cockpit will literally have fewer elements?

Yes. Hidden tech is an emerging concept in design and product development. When you look at a smartphone from the outside, you notice that it’s pretty simple. There are only about three buttons. But the homework and work to make it that simple are incredibly complex and time-consuming. The classic definition of high-tech no longer exists.

We’re entering a high-tech age where all cars…

They are all going to be Electric. By 2025, the majority of all the car companies’ offerings worldwide are going to be electric.

What does that mean for car design?

For the exterior, it means something a little bit more aerodynamic. But hopefully not what I call aerodynamic affected. An affectation.

You seem to be as focused on user experience as visual design.

Yes. Again, it’s about quality time. Let’s bring the stress level down and get back to basic human interactions that we all crave, like conversation and thinking.

This is very abstract. I think what people respond to is when a manufacturer messed up with its design so they can say, “That’s so ugly.” Or “That’s hot.” You can’t get around that, right?

People are smart enough to see something on the road and recognize whether or not the company was overreaching.

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Electrek Podcast: Tesla Model 3 updates, new hope for EV federal tax credit, Porsche Taycan, and more

This week on the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy, including several important updates regarding the Tesla Model 3, a new hope for the electric vehicle federal tax credit, some updates regarding the Porsche Taycan, and more. more…

The post Electrek Podcast: Tesla Model 3 updates, new hope for EV federal tax credit, Porsche Taycan, and more appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward

Vandoorne Switches From Formula 1 To Formula E With HWA

McLaren Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne’s switch to Formula E with HWA has been confirmed by the Mercedes-affiliated squad.

The news, as predicted by, comes one day ahead of the start of FE’s 2018/19 pre-season testing, which gets underway at Valencia on Tuesday. understands that Vandoorne, who will lose his F1 seat to McLaren’s 2018 test and reserve driver Lando Norris for next year, will complete the opening day of running at Circuit Ricardo Tormo before travelling to Austin to compete in the US Grand Prix.

“I am honoured that HWA have signed me for their Formula E programme,” said Vandoorne.

“HWA are such a great team with a long and successful history in motorsport. All the people I’ve met so far are really passionate about racing.

“Also, it´s great to work alongside such an experienced driver as [HWA FE teammate] Gary Paffett. I am pretty sure that we will benefit from each other during the season.

“Although we are all newbies to the series, I have no doubt that we will have a steep learning curve.

“However, it won’t be easy. My objective is therefore to become competitive in the series as soon as possible and to make a good impression.”

Paffett’s signing was confirmed by HWA last week before he secured the 2018 DTM title for Mercedes last weekend.

It was the marque’s final season competing in the DTM before entering FE, and taking HWA’s slot on the grid, for the 2019/20 season.

“There is a lot happening in our team at the moment,” said HWA team principal Ulrich Fritz.

“After the official team presentation last week, we are today announcing the signing of Stoffel, which means we’ve slotted yet another piece into the puzzle that is our Formula E project.

“Stoffel has demonstrated his talent and his speed not only in Formula 1, but also in the 2015 GP2 which he won by a wide margin.

“In Stoffel and Gary, we have two Formula E rookies on our team, which in any case is making its own debut in the electric series. That’s why we all have a lot to learn together.

“However, Gary and Stoffel are outstanding racing drivers who have a wealth of experience gained in Formula 1 and in the DTM. In addition, both know how to work in collaboration with the engineers to develop and fine-tune a new racing car.

“These are precisely the sort of strengths that will count for a lot in our first Formula E campaign. It gives me confidence that we and our two drivers are well prepared for the challenges ahead.”

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Tesla is now able to maintain production of close to 1,000 vehicles per day

Tesla is looking to significantly increase Model 3 production in the current quarter as it attempts to turn its revenues profitable.

While we’ve yet to witness this production increase, our tracking of Tesla’s production shows that the automaker is able to maintain production of close to 1,000 vehicles per day. more…

The post Tesla is now able to maintain production of close to 1,000 vehicles per day appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward

Green Deals: Sun Joe 14-inch 12A Electric Lawn Mower $80, more

The Snow Joe Outlet offers its Sun Joe 14-inch 12A Electric Lawn Mower with an extra extension cord and discharge chute for $79.99 shipped. This mower usually sells for around $100 at Home Depot without the added accessories. Features include a 12A mower with a 14-inch wide path, 3-position height control and a two-year warranty. Rated 4/5 stars by over 2,400 Amazon reviewers. more…

The post Green Deals: Sun Joe 14-inch 12A Electric Lawn Mower $80, more appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward

LG Chem Hosts “The Battery Challenge”

LG Chem looks for promising battery start-ups

LG Chem announced a new initiative – The Battery Challenge – in the form of an open innovation contest for start-ups with new battery technologies.

The South Korean company offers more than $1.9 million in funding to 8 selected start-up companies (applications are accepted until November 2) and the possibility to partner with LG Chem on joint technology development, access to commercialization opportunities, etc.

Main point of interest for LG Chem are four categories:

  • battery material
  • battery management and control
  • design, manufacturing and processing
  • recycle and regeneration

LG Chem revealed that its automotive battery business has exceeded 60 trillion won (approx. $ 53.263 billion) in order backlog by the end of the first half of 2018, which sounds like hundreds of GWh.

More info here: The Battery Challenge

From press release:

LG Chem, South Korea’s leading manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries, runs its first open innovation contest ‘The Battery Challenge’ to support start-ups specializing in new battery technology to strengthen its competitiveness in the industry.

LG Chem is accepting applications until November 2nd. The fields of application are separated into four categories: ‘battery material’, ‘battery management and control’, ‘design, manufacturing and processing’ and ‘recycle and regeneration’. Start-ups can apply and receive detailed information through the official website. (

The company asks all participants to submit their technology descriptions and business plans, which will then be carefully analyzed and evaluated to pick the top eight. Applications are encouraged to focus on technology and innovation in the battery sector. The selected companies will then be invited to ‘Demo Day’ in Silicon Valley, USA, around February of next year to present their business plans.

The finalists will be selected through the holistic evaluation of each business plan and presentation, taking into account each start-up’s feasibility and marketability in the sector. LG Chem provides an opportunity to receive more than $1.9M in funding through a formal partnership agreement and will also continue to grow related technologies through joint research projects.

Strengthening technological competitiveness through open innovation.

LG Chem’s goal is to discover innovative technologies and enhance competitiveness through active open innovation.

In June of this year, the company hosted the ‘Global Innovation Contest (GIC)’ in an effort to promote technical cooperation between LG Chem and academia. Prominent universities and research institutes from around the world took part, particularly those working on innovative technologies in five promising business areas: energy, environment, functional materials, biotechnology and platform technology.

LG Chem’s ongoing effort to innovate is one of the many reasons why the company is now a leader in the battery industry. LG Chem has achieved numerous milestones since entering new business fields such as automobile batteries, ESS batteries and small batteries.

The automotive battery business has secured global customers with its advanced technology and has exceeded 60 trillion won (approx. $ 53.263 billion) in order backlog by the end of the first half of 2018.

On top of winning the ‘ees Award’ two years in a row at one of the world’s largest ESS exhibitions ‘ees Europe’, 2016 & 2017, LG Chem also took home America’s Brad Roberts Award in 2017. This is awarded by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) to honor the largest contributors to the development of the North American ESS industry each year. LG Chem’s ESS battery is widely recognized in the industry as a leading innovative technology.

In addition, LG Chem has recently achieved remarkable growth in various business fields such as IT, where the launch of low-cobalt batteries for notebook computers in the small-sized battery business proved to be a great success. The company has achieved outstanding results in the battery business thanks to its top-of-the-line battery technology.

LG Chem’s battery manufacturing method ‘Lamination & Stacking’ technology stacks electrodes and separator layers. This method increases energy density by maximizing the internal space efficiency of electric vehicles, ESS, smart phones and so on. In March of this year, LG Chem received the LG Research & Development Prize for ‘Free Form Battery,’ which utilizes this technology to realize the maximum capacity in the limited space found inside a smartphone.

LG Chem plans to focus on R&D investment in the field of innovative batteries, which can far exceed the limits of conventional batteries, such as investment in high capacity electric cars, small batteries and high power ESS batteries with low cobalt content.

Furthermore, the company will continue to strengthen its R&D in various areas, such as innovative batteries, through the active search and support for inspiring start-ups with innovative battery technologies.

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Lime unveils new electric scooter, fuels the e-scooter arms race

Lime has just released a new model for their electric scooters, the Lime-S Generation 3. It is designed to improve upon the original Lime scooters that have proven popular among commuters in cities across the world.


The post Lime unveils new electric scooter, fuels the e-scooter arms race appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward

Weekend project: How to build your own DIY 40 mph fast electric bicycle

Electric bicycles is a booming industry. It seems like every week we hear about another new model entering the market. Outside of a few exceptions, most electric bicycles fall in the 15-28 mph (25-45 km/h) range. That’s fine for pleasure riding, but it leaves many enthusiasts looking for more speed.

With so many people commuting on electric bicycles, the extra speed of a fast electric bicycle is a nice addition for many, allowing them keep up with traffic. However, there aren’t many commercially available options for fast electric bicycles. That’s why I decided to build my own, with the goal of reaching 40 mph (64 km/h). Read on to see how to build your own DIY fast electric bicycle.


The post Weekend project: How to build your own DIY 40 mph fast electric bicycle appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward

Thor Trucks To Develop Heavy-Duty E-Powertrain System With AxleTech

AxleTech to offer a heavy-duty e-powertrain system

Thor Trucks, which works on all-electric semi-trailers and vans, engaged in a new project with AxleTech to develop a heavy-duty e-powertrain system.

The idea is to combine AxleTech’s e-axles with Thor’s proprietary battery packs, which as we understand would enable it to offer complete systems for vehicle manufacturers.

The joint e-powertrain offering is to be launched in 2019.

“AxleTech provides integrated solutions for on-highway electric vehicles, including Class 6, 7, and 8 trucks, as well as transit applications. The company has established many other strategic partnerships with industry leaders to develop groundbreaking customized, fully-integrated electric powertrain systems.

Earlier this year, the company unveiled its next-generation electric independent suspension concept for high-mobility applications. AxleTech’s 5000 Series eISAS™ concept enhances performance and has the ability to improve stealth characteristics, lower heat signatures, and improve fuel savings to logistics vehicles, tactical vehicles, and armored personnel carriers.”

Bill Gryzenia, CEO, AxleTech said:

“Electric powertrains for on-highway use are rapidly advancing at a global scale, and AxleTech’s technology has kept pace with this evolution. Due to the acute market need for these solutions, we are proud to work alongside Thor Trucks to build the most advanced integrated powertrain components for driveline electrification. Our team takes this role seriously and is relentless in identifying and developing the next generation of electric powertrain systems.”

Giordano Sordoni, co-founder and COO of Thor Trucks said:

“Thor Tucks will benefit tremendously from AxleTech’s industry-leading powertrain expertise as we work to meet the market’s increasing demand for electrification. This partnership is a significant stride forward in our pursuit to transform the commercial transportation industry.”

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Tesla starts advertising quicker 0-60 mph acceleration for Model 3 Performance

With all the changes to Tesla’s online design studio yesterday, the automaker also quietly updated the advertised 0-60 mph acceleration time of the Model 3 Performance.

But this wasn’t caused by any hardware or software updates… more…

The post Tesla starts advertising quicker 0-60 mph acceleration for Model 3 Performance appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward