Future Concepts for Hybrid Cars

Wintersemester 2011/12 

Executive Summary 


Global warming is becoming more and more a real threat for mankind and environment. Additionally, it is obvious that traditional fuel resources are limited. Legislation has already reacted to these major challenges and is continuously tightening up on CO2, exhaust gas and noise emission limits. Furthermore, a growing population accompanied by an increased demand for mobility is obvious.
The automotive industry is already reacting and several results are yet in market or right now in development. One approach to meet these challenges will be hybrid and electric vehicles, getting more and more market shares in future. But there is still a potential for innovative solutions for future hybrid vehicles.
The project therefore focuses on the end customers’ needs for hybrid vehicles and the customer perception of cleaner mobility concepts as well as expectations regarding hybrid vehicles of today and tomorrow. 

Project goal 

The project challenge was to understand the current perception of hybrid cars from the drivers’ point of view (actual consumers and non-consumers) and develop future concepts for hybrid cars that meet the consumers’ needs. 

Approach and methodology 

The project goal was achieved by applying the method of Design Thinking to gather an in-depth understanding of the customers’ mind, challenge existing solutions and generate future ideas and solutions up to functional models and prototypes. Students from different disciplines and backgrounds (design, business, and engineering) worked in interdisciplinary teams to make use of and integrate different perspectives regarding the innovation challenge. 

The project was structured into two major phases: an (1) in-depth market and consumer analysis (research phase) followed by (2) an idea and concept generation phase including the visualization of the concept as functional models or prototypes. 

Research Phase
The analysis of the current solution and market was conducted via secondary research (studies, trade journals, databases, online communities, forums, blogs etc.) as well as primary research consisting of an online survey (n=157), 38 target group interviews (direct customers, end user, non-user, experts), observations, and self-testing. As key insights 9 major problem areas were identified. 

Ideation and concept development Phase
Starting with the major key insights identiied, the second phase of the project was concerned with the development and testing of possible solutions for the problems at hand. After an idea generation phase, rough prototypes have been developed for the best approaches which have been tested and reined in iterative steps leading to an inital prototype or functional model and future concept. 


The inal concepts comprise fuel-eficiency tools for hybrid cars that are implemented into the software of the cars, ranging from advanced usage of global positioning systems that calculate more fuel eficient routes concerning actual and real-time date, to car-to-car communication between hybrid cars in order to better collect relevant data. Also, the inal concepts include solutions for the information overload of hybrid cars during trips, collecting data during drives and aggregating them to relevant driver journals. 

All solutions generated have been evaluated and tested by users and other stakeholders confronted with today’s solutions and its challenges.

If you are interested in more details concerning the inal concepts and prototypes, please contact the project partner directly.

Cooperation Partner

  • MAGNA Powertrain AG & Co KG
    Plant Lannach
    Industriestraße 35
    8502 Lannach

  • Contact Person
    Markus Bichler
    Advanced Development
    E-Mail: markus.bichler@magnapowertrain.com

Student Team

  • Patrick Bonhold
    Marius Höbenstreit
    Julie Charlotte Kainz
    Marion Kanalz
    Thomasz Kilarski
    Peter Perstel
    René Prinz
    Thomas Rath
    Bernhard Scheiblauer
    Walter Sinn
    Florian Sturm