Reading Time: 5 min | Jan 2019

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Design Special

From E-Mobility to Car Design: Exclusive Automobiles Design Special

Mobility is changing – right now! It is not just because the Frankfurt Auto Show IAA just started that we, as people, talk about the way we want to create mobility and use new technology in the future. The truth is: The conscience for rather sustainable solutions is growing immensely, new thinkings and ways of mobility - be that new energies, fewer cars in cities or completely new ways of transportation - are in the heads of customers as well as manufacturers. The latter talk of a turnaround in mobility.

For our iF Design Special we asked experts in automobile design from institutes to manufacturers, what their turn on e-mobility as the major topic related to „cars“ is - and how it affects car design.

Read below what Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Design, Sam Livingstone of Car Design Research and iF Juror Ronald Ihrig say about new technology and design changes.


“Holistic Design Experience” – Interview Klaus Bischoff

At the IAA Frankfurt, the Volkswagen Group presented their brand new electric mid-range car ID.3, a world premiere. In the course of this, we talked to Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen design, about his view on e-mobility and design in our short interview.

Klaus Bischoff

Executive Director of Volkswagen Design - Wolfsburg, Germany

Is e-mobility THE solution?

KB: In the context of our time: of course. It is locally emission-free and sustainable with renewable energy in production and operation. It is also a signal of upbeat. We tackle the problems, we search and find solutions for the individual mobility of the future. That's our chance.

What challenges does e-mobility bring for designers?

KB: The biggest challenge is to find the right expression for a brand in a new age of mobility. Volkswagen starts with a smile into the future. This lightness, which has already been established by the beetle and the VW minibus with it's face without a grille, is our starting point for a new, sustainable mobility.

What are the e-trends? Where is it all heading?

KB: The major developments besides digitization and electrification are sustainability, autonomy and humanity. A product-focused automotive design turns into a human-focused, holistic design experience.

„Normalisation of
E-Mobility“ – Interview with Sam Livingstone

Sam Livingstone

Director of the consultancy firm CAR DESIGN RESEARCH Ltd., Cambridge, United Kingdom and juror of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2015

Is E-Mobility THE solution?

SL: No, but it is a fundamental change in the wider mobility landscape that takes us towards lower energy consumption and reduced emissions.

What challenges does e-mobility bring for designers?

SL: The challenge to realize designs that genuinely take the benefits afforded by electric powertrain in their proportions and even core architecture, but also in their semantics that may reflect some of the associated qualities of electrified mobility. However, maybe these are more opportunities than challenges too!

Sam Livingstone

Learn more about
his career


What are the e-trends? Where is it all heading?

SL: Too many to list really; the fundamental one is the ’normalisation’ of e-mobility as it just becomes mobility and thus the way that (from a design perspective) it ceases to be so special, distinct, and appealing to early adopters. But this ’new normal’ will have a different design quality as vehicles such as the Volkswagen ID3 and Porsche Taycan that are debuting at the Frankfurt Auto Show this week illustrate. 

iF Juror and Automotive Design expert Ronald Ihrig

Ronald Ihrig

Learn more about his career


Ronald Ihrig is not only an iF Juror, he is also a frequent commentator on the latest trends from the major international automotive exhibitions. He also organizes the Automotive Designers’ Night in Frankfurt and Paris and he acts as a judge in many international design competitions. In the video below, recorded at the jury session for the iF DESIGN AWARD 2019 in January, we asked him what he believes, designers in his industry are up to right now and what trends are knocking on the door.

Design Video:

Ronald Ihrig talks about how e-mobility affects the autombile industry and what this aspect means for future developments. Watch this video!

Ideas for the Future Car: Professional Concept Vehicles

Professional Concept is one of the most exciting disciplines of the iF DESIGN AWARD. Every year, the jury is stunned by the overtly creative and future-driven designs. Vehicles play a crucial role here: BMWHyundai and MAN were honored for their astonishing concept cars this year. Two of them even got the gold status!


The BMW Vision iNEXT Automated car, iF gold award 2019
Boasting the size and proportions of a modern BMW SAV, the Vision iNEXT cuts an authoritative figure. The vehicle instantly conveys its trailblazing character through clearly sculpted shapes and surfaces. Highly automated, emission-free and fully connected, it brings together the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields in building a Vision Vehicle for the first time.
MAN CitE, iF gold award 2019
The CitE Truck is more than a vehicle concept. It is MAN's answer to the requirements of goods distribution in clean modern cities. With the CitE, which was fully developed in just 18 months, MAN is setting new standards in urban goods delivery. With its avant-garde exterior, the truck resembles a work of art, combining ergonomics and safety to provide high efficiency.
GENESIS Essentia Concept, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019
The Genesis Essentia is a vision of an electric performance GT, it is an ultimate manifestation of an athletic elegance design paradigm. The exterior excites with a crest grille that acts as an airflow guide, minimalist quad lights, an anti-wedge parabolic line, cut-off ducktail rear with flush taillights, and a glass canopy for perfect visibility showcasing carbon fiber monocoque.
HYUNDAI Le Fil Rouge Concept, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019
The new ‘Le Fil Rouge’ concept car embodies Hyundai’s desire to find the perfect harmony between feeling and function. A ‘light architecture’ construction, the car uses golden-ratio proportion to create a forward motion effect, with front and rear pillars and roof treated as a single, sinuous line that runs from front to rear. Le Fil Rouge has a long wheelbase, large wheels and short overhangs, with signature cascading grille incorporating parametric jewel lighting.
The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019
The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe illustrates the meaning behind the letter “M” at BMW in impressive style: it stands for “more” - more of everything. In addition to dynamic excellence, the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe also embodies a new facet of luxury for the BMW brand – ultra-sporty, extroverted and polarizing.



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