ChargeIt: Mobile Application for
e-Vehicle Battery Management

THE PROBLEM

The world is facing a large threat in the form of vehicular pollution. Those willing to make a difference in the form of electric vehicles, face numerous challenges in battery management and maintenance, having to plan their trips around power stations and battery consumption.

THE SOLUTION

We designed a mobile app, that keeps track of battery and other maintenance factors. The application ensures that there is sufficient charge to complete intended trips, and issues warnings on low battery levels. It also acts as a facilitator between service stations and end-users.

DURATION

December 2017 - January 2018

TEAM

Prof. Pradeep Yammiyavar
Arpit Mathur

ROLE

Conducted Research and Analysis on e-vehicle user's issues and motivations. Brainstormed multiple solutions. Designed the user flow, wireframes, and high-fidelity prototypes of the final solution.

Process

LITERATURE Research

This was done to gain insight into the existing scenario of electrical vehicles and battery management systems in India

PRIMARY Research

Through this, an understanding of the real life problems that users of electrical vehicles face was gathered. This information guided the personae and the scenarios.

Ideation and brainstorming

The data collected from the research was clustered into similar areas, and brainstorming was done to understand how the identified pain points could be tackled.

Concept Model and Flow

After coming up with solutions, the user flow was visualized and accordingly the information architecture was created.

High Fidelity Prototyping

Finally, wireframs were made to visualize how the features of the application would work exactly. Once the wireframes were finalized, the final screens were made.

Literature Review

To get an understanding of the problem space, we perused existing literature on electric vehicles. This was in the form of academic papers, as well as blog posts on various forums (such as Reddit and Quora). Some of the motivations behind users adopting e-vehicles are as follows:

Cost Effective

In the longer run, an e-vehicle driver saves on a lot of money that was otherwise being spent on fuel. On average, an e-vehicle user saves Rs. 4400 per month.

Fuel-less experience

Most e-vehicle users have regular charging routines that involve their own houses or their work places. That means that ideally, an e-vehicle driver never has to stop at a gas station.

Eco Friendly

E-vehicles are much cleaner and environment friendly than gasoline vehicles. For the population that is concerned about environment change and global warming, this is the biggest selling point.

User Research

We recruited 8 participants and conducted remote unstructured interviews pertaining to the problems they faced in the adoption of e-vehicles. The interviews were conducted telephonically and lasted 25 minutes. Analysis of the data revealed common problems are shown below:

Battery Associated Problems

The batteries of electric vehicles are toxic, and are the only unclean aspect of the vehicle. Moreover, battery life is affected by prolonged non-usage and overcharging.

Technical Shortcomings

Electrical Vehicles, expecially when partially charged, have lower ranges than gasoline vehicles. They also have lower driving speeds and long charging hours.

Maintenance Issues

Users are not educated about the functioning of e-vehicles. There is sparcity of service stations and power stations in most countries

Need for planning

Impromptu trips with these cars are frightening, as the battery consumption depends on factors like load, no. of passengers and even weather.

Expensive Setup

e-vehicles are expensive, and the setup cost of installign the infrastructure for charging at one's home can be expensive.

Personae

We encapsulated our research findings in the form of personae, to address those that we were designing for while keeping our solutions user-centered. The two personae we devised were different in their usage of vehicles, as well as in the availability of charging outlets:

HOW MIGHT WE help Fahad and
Hema have better experiences with
battery managment and maintenance?

Solution, Assumptions and Technology

The proposed solution is an app that helps an electrical vehicle user monitor their battery usage and other health parameters. The vehicle’s internal systems are fitted with IoT devices, sending data to the app, and the user can make sense of them through data viz techniques.

The designs were made with the assumption that ChargeIt is a mobile application that electrical vehicle dealers can sell as part of the e-vehicle package. The users can then monitor their vehicles through this application, and their travelling experience is in turn enhanced.

User Flows

We mapped out how the user will interact with the mobile application using user flows. We made different flows for the onboarding, linking one's card to the application, making a trip, and detecting/reporting car issues. We followed the following conventions for the user flows:

ONBOARDING USER FLOW

ADDING A CAR USER FLOW

TAKING A TRIP USER FLOW

DETECTING ISSUES USER FLOW

Wireframing

We then converted the user flows into low-fidelity wireframes. The wireframes were designed on Balsamiq Wireframes. Designing the wireframes uncovered multiple problems in the flows, which resulted in reiterations. The flow of the app using wireframes is shown below:

Style Guide

To develop high-fidelity prototypes, we first developed a style guide for our application. The application required a clean, minimal workhorse font. We decided to use Montserrat. Further, we chose green as the primary color for the app, as e-vehicles are eco-friendly.

TYPOGRAPHY

COLOURS

#229C6F

#454D48

#F2994A

Never run out of charge on your e-vehicle again

Presenting ChargeIt, a mobile application that helps you manage and track your electric vehicles parameters remotely through IOT technology.

Track your vehicle's battery performance

A dashboard for your vehicle that shows you all the relevant information pertaining to your vehicle’s health.

Worried about overcharging your vehicle in the garage? ChargeIt will notify you as soon as your vehicle has reached sufficient charge, and prompt you to disconnect the charger.

Don't overthink your trips

Now no matter what your vehicle’s battery, ChargeIt will ensure that you can reach where you want to go by processing fastest path including power stations and time stops on the way.

Never leave the house unprepared

Just enter the destination and the number of passengers, while in the comfort of your home, and ChargeIt will calculate how much battery the trip will consume.

Having calculated the battery requirement as per your specification, ChargeIt will process the best possible path for you. If you have sufficient battery, you’re good to go. Otherwise, ChargeIt will start navigation and accomodate power stations with stop times automatically.

Make Impromptu Trips

Many a times, we do not know the exact specifications of a trip before hand. Be it a long drive, or a long errand, this happens to us quite frequently.

ChargeIt gives you the flexibility to accomodate this situation. It dynamically calculates the battery consumption for the journey home, and gives you alerts when it’s just enough to make it.

car maintenance has never been this easy

Not only does the IOT system automatically detect issues with the vehicle’s functioning, you can add issues you notice to the app too. This helps you keep track of everything at one place.

The app also keeps a track of all issues till date so that the user can easily look back on this data if needed.

Easily connect with maintenance support

You can forward these tickets to the service centers of your choice through the app itself, making the experience of resolving your issue seamless.

Each issue gets an independent ticket that contains all of the details related to that issue. They can be forwarded to the service centers with additional information, or the use may choose to resolve it themselves.