155
10
HumanMachine
Interaction (HMI) in the
Time of Electric Vehicles
Nikolaos Gkikas
Autonomics, UK
Over a century ago in Mannheim, Karl Benz installed a combustion engine to his
infamous tricycle, which is widely accepted as the rst automobile. Whether that
(see Figure10.1) was truly the case or not will always remain open to argument;
what however can hardly be denied is the rapid development of the automobile to
the ubiquitous transport mode and instrument for recreation it is today. In highly
motorized countries such as the US, Japan and in Europe, it is difcult to imagine
life without road vehicles. In other developed countries, more often than not, a car is
the most desirable purchase in a persons life, to the point of sometimes competing
with the purchase of a house.
10.1 BACK TO THE FUTURE ...
In-between then and today, vehicle development has been relentless, and looking at
any of the early examples of the automobile, it is very difcult to identify automotive
parts that withstood those 120–130 years. Even the most basic of parts by todays
CONTENTS
10.1 Back to the Future ... ..................................................................................... 155
10.2 Electric, Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid, Fuel Cells and … .................................... 157
10.3 The Properties of the Electric Motor ............................................................ 160
10.4 The EV Driving Task .................................................................................... 161
10.4.1 How EVs Change the Driving Task .................................................. 161
10.4.2 How the Electric Motor Changes Vehicle HMI ............................... 165
10.4.2.1 Information Display ........................................................... 165
10.4.2.2 Vehicle Control .................................................................. 167
10.4.2.3 Secondary Controls (HVAC, Wipers, Charging
Control) ........................................................................ 169
10.5 EV: Much More than a Car ........................................................................... 169
References .............................................................................................................. 170
156 Automotive Ergonomics: Driver–Vehicle Interaction
standards, such as a steering wheel or pedals were quite uncommon then. One hun-
dred years ago, the steering wheel was a novelty. Electric cars however, were not ...
Far from it, in the early 1900s electric vehicles were the norm rather than the
exception: they were more efcient, far less noisy and dirty than their combustion-
powered siblings and did not suffer any relative range inefciencies. It was only in
the second decade of the century, and through the momentum created by the Great
War that internal combustion engines (ICE) witnessed huge development for the
needs of the rst major motorized conict. In addition, ICEs could be employed in a
variety of transport applications—from featherlight ghter planes to the gargantuan
battleships of the time. Electric vehicle production peaked in 2012 (About, 2012).
From then on, the tide turned against the electric motor. The ICE witnessed constant
development, which continues to the present day. Electric vehicles (EV) on the other
hand lost any prior competitive advantage and became virtually extinct.
The second half of the 20th century witnessed the comprehensive standardisa-
tion of vehicle characteristics and their fundamental ergonomics. That effectively
happened both through the formal route of engineering (e.g., SAE), national (e.g.,
DIN, ANSI, BSI) and international standards (ISO), but also through the informal
request of the society for product reliability, and cost-reducing efciency. From an
ergonomics/human factors engineering perspective, that trend led to reduced human
error and accidents in the production line as well as improved familiarisation and
reduced training demands for drivers changing from one vehicle to another. It also
meant that radical engineering ideas would have a very hard timeif any chance at
all—to make it to the showroom.
Some alternative ideas however are strong enough to receive the support of stake-
holders (manufacturers, policy-makers and/or the public) and endure the long lter-
ing and cost/benet weighing processes in place. Among those, the return of the
electric vehicle (EV) has received signicant support from some manufacturers,
FIGURE 10.1 The start of motoring?

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