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- Luke Roberts
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In 2016, automotive brand DENZA commissioned MING Labs to design the instrument cluster and head unit of their new electric vehicle. In-car digital experience is fast becoming one of the most in-demand aspects of automotive design. In close collaboration with DENZA’s hardware development team, MING Labs came to a sweet spot between hardware limitations, extensive safety constraints and user’s delight.
With both German and Chinese culture in our DNA and a deep expertise in the Chinese market, MING was the perfect fit to bridge the cultural challenges in the DENZA team – a joint venture between Mercedes’s parent company Daimler and Chinese car manufacturer BYD. In 2017, DENZA achieved its best sales performance to date – with retail sales volume increasing by 85% year-on-year – largely due to the strong customer reception of the Denza 400 model. Engineered and produced in and for China, the DENZA 500 will allow even more Chinese customers to experience the brand’s environmentally-friendly mobility.
When people pick up a car anywhere around the globe, they should immediately know how it works. Hence, with a focus on simplicity and intuitiveness, we designed the flow, interaction and visuals of the digital elements to create the most sophisticated experience for drivers. Among plenty of other features, the head unit boasts a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen, where drivers can navigate with Baidu Maps and use their WeChat account to locate charging stations.
The art direction revolved around the concepts of water and electricity, matching the brand’s green positioning. DENZA 500 uses electricity but also regenerates electricity upon braking. A strong concept for electric cars, which we wanted to communicate through motion design.