Honda Sports EV Cluster Study
Visual Design, Iconography, Animation, Prototyping
After I personally witnessed the reveal of the Honda Sports EV at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, I noticed the concept vehicle did not include an interior. My imagination began to run with ideas and I decided to build a fully featured instrument cluster. This is
I felt an important piece was to incorporate Honda's familiar racing DNA while still allowing clear and legible data for the driver. The Honda Sports EV should be fun to drive and the driver should feel at one with it.
As part of research and execution of this project, the following processes were required:
Before starting, it helped to study the interfaces from other similarly priced vehicles in the industry. Are there common features that should be considered and/or omitted? Are there examples of sportiness incorporated in said vehicles? Looking back at Honda's own previous sports and electric vehicles, can features be tied in to bring familarity?
Most vehicles had a dedicated instrument panel behind the steering wheel with the exception of the Tesla Model 3 that uses the center dashboard display for everything. The Honda E also uses one long attached display, but a portion behind the steering wheel is used for more crucial data such as a speedometer.
I also felt it would be a nice nod to older Honda sports road and racing cars to take traits from their gauges. This might be more of an aesthetic consideration, but it would bring a sense of continuity.
The challenge would be applying these visual traits to an electric vehicle. Unlike EVs, the referenced sports / racing vehicles required more emphasis on the tachometer as they run on iternal combustion engines. However, the driver no longer needs to focus on shifting gears and managing engine revs as electric vehicles typically have single gears with a flat torque band.
Taking my research into account, it was time to sketch the features I had in mind into a visual. The elements that seemed critical to start with included current speed, selected gear, remaining charge, critical status indicators and time.
Other nice to have features to explore were weather, navigation, media, and additional vehicle stats. I just wanted to be very mindful of distracting the driver with too much information, affecting the safety.
The next step was to put these ideas into an interactive prototype to test how they behaved. Figma allowed me to not only create each design screen, but also create multiple interaction points to make this feel as close to a real product as possible before using code.
As the prototype was being built out, I started to think about various microinteractions and how they looked and behaved. To help guide the user between states, it was important to define some animation principles such as easing, duration, and what type of transitions to incorporate.
Overall, I was happy with my first pass at building a fully interactive instrument cluster. It helped me understand the considerations for in-vehicle display designers with regards to constraints and regulations. With that in mind, my next steps would be to consider the regulatory icons and notifications that are mandatory to be displayed from NHTSA.
View final product