Nio Design EVE

The Nio Design Journey

In 2014 NextEV was founded as a new electric vehicle company based in China. The initiative began with a Formula E team in the first season of the electric race series in 2015 while the car company was being built in stealth. 

In 2015, having sought out a new challenge, I was hired by a company called NextEV as one of the founding members of a design organisation for the company that would later become Nio. 

My first day was the first day of the design headquarter opening in Munich, Germany with an initial team of 19 people arriving in a bare shell of an office. We were told "this is the first day of this studio, we are all here to build a car company so let's get on with it" and so an amazing adventure started.

Specialising in UIUX and Industrial Design and with a background in Automotive Engineering and Interactive Media I was hired specifically to catalyse the design of a new generation of vehicle from the perspective of digital interaction, design innovation and product design. To this end I set about building 3 complimentary competences; User Interface and User Experience, Creative Technology and Product Design. These disciplines formed one team dedicated to design innovation in the space of the personal vehicle. 

Throughout 2015, 16 The focus was on building the internal structure and competences of the company, develop the initial product offering in record time both internally and with suppliers, and devise design and launch the consumer brand. In any start up when the resources are limited you need to take on a number of roles to keep the development moving. Whilst in start up mode I was tasked with interim management of teams that did not yet have a lead personnel in place whilst the on-boarding and hiring process continued. This responsibility included Interior Design and Creative Brand.

On November 21st  2016 the Nio brand was launched in London at the Saachi Gallery along with the record breaking EP9 Super Car. 

UI/UX

The core UIUX and Creative Technology teams were tasked with defining the HMI system for Nio's core consumer vehicle platform and prototyping that platform both physically and digitally in a series of interaction prototypes which emulated the system enabling Nio to confidently move forward rapidly with ES8. 

The growth of Nio as a company was rapid and huge in scale. From 200 people globally in 2015 the company grew to almost 12,000 in 2019. As a global start up Nio focussed on building the company utilising the best competences at their primary centres of excellence with Manufacturing in China, Design in Southern Germany and Software development in Silicon Valley.

Nio Design UIUX UI/UX

Product Design

A team of UI and Product designers was recruited in Shanghai to work on digital and physical design implementation with the engineering teams and directly with local supply chain in China. 

The quality of manufacturing and development partners in China is abundant and rich. There is an incredible diversity and productivity to tap into and a hunger for innovation which drives and incredible pace in the market.

The team placed there offers the capability for rapid turn around of quick to market updates and short turn around products.

Nio Power DC Charger EV Product Design

Creative Technology

In any design field where you are innovating and utilising new technologies it is crucial to prove and demonstrate concepts. Through my career I have had great success developing prototypes and models utilising the latest approaches to physical computing, model making and prototyping techniques enabling the realistic assessment of a core product concept by the team and to the management. 

This workflow requires a diverse team and a highly collaborative approach and key to that approach is a fail early attitude. The reward is the physical realisation of your ideas at great speed enabling decisions to impact the project early. 

Nio Pilot Autonomous Interface

Munich

The core HMI & product design team would develop HMI and associated product design as part of  the core vehicle design team in Munich. The Munich studio is a full service car design studio tasked with developing the core design of the vehicles and products which Nio offers to customers, Nio show cars and products like Nomi and EV charging stations.


Nio Design Munich

Shanghai

A team of UI and Product designers was recruited in Shanghai to work on digital and physical design implementation with the engineering teams and directly with local supply chain in China. 

The quality of manufacturing and development partners in China is abundant and rich. There is an incredible diversity and productivity to tap into and a hunger for innovation which drives and incredible pace in the market.

The team placed there offers the capability for rapid turn around of quick to market updates and short turn around products.

Nio Design Shanghai

San Francisco

Starting in late 2016 the initial development of a new Design innovation team began in San Francisco. The focus of the team was to lead design innovation projects in collaboration with the rich technology landscape in Silicon Valley. 

The team was made up of a diverse skillset and was devised to incubate ideas and concepts which could innovate in any area of Nio's offering by researching opportunity areas and developing proof of concepts in these key areas and making important connections into the startup and innovation community.

Nio Design Innovation San Francisco SFO