NRW Car 1.0


The idea | The vision  | The task | The team


DesignStudio NRW create new, intermodal vehicle concepts

The first phase of the project was financed with start-up funding from the ministry of economics NRW in 2013. This made possible the creation of a draft in the form of a 3D model of the vehicle, a 1:5 scale model, animations of the in- and exterior, a driving simulation within a virtual, future version of the Ruhr area, as well as the visualization of mobility behavior in urban environments in 2030. During the week long Car Clinic in November 2013 selected individuals from a group of target customers, were presented the draft, driving simulation and visualizations of urban environments, along with current electronic cars from the same vehicle class in a test studio. To arouse interest in, and inform about the project research findings were presented during the Car Clinics opening event. Prior to this, interviews on a wide variety of topics were held at the DesignStudio NRW. Questions regarding the design, the interior and features of vehicles and new traffic concepts were asked in order to gain a better understanding of market opportunities and the willingness of consumers to buy such cars, as well as their expectations of designs, materials and the perception of quality.

The basis for the development of the NRWCar was a specifications sheet, which lead to a greater common understanding of the project within the team, while also defining the design parameters. Experiences in the automobile industry have shown that a consolidation of the individual findings of each project partner is necessary for this. In line with the idea of frontloading, the goal is to simplify the pre-development phase and design process, so as to specify the properties of a product or part as early as possible.

The vision

In the volume segment of the German automobile market, vehicles which run solely on electric batteries generate jobs and secure economic value.

The NRWCar focuses on the discrepancy between supply and demand in the (volume) segment of electric vehicles. Market research has clearly shown that while many buyers would like to buy an electronic vehicle, few accept shortcomings such as low reach and most refuse to pay a higher price. Currently, German manufacturers are offering, on the one hand, either newly developed premium vehicles in the compact class (C-segment) with prices around 35,000 Euro (e.g.: the BMW i3, which customers in the volume segment will not buy), and mini-cars (e.g.: the VW E-up) in the mini-car segment (A-segment) at the price of circa 27,000 Euro, which are being offered only sparingly, as they pose the risk of losses for suppliers.

Therefore, what is missing are economically attractive electric vehicles in the small car segment (B-segment) and the compact class (C-segment), that cater to prices volume market customers are prepared to pay. These are necessities for the production of vehicles and parts in NRW and Germany and also to secure economic value and employment. Barely any jobs or value would result from a small-batch production of electronic vehicles in the top and luxury class in Germany and NRW.

For this reason the NRWCar was designed to be attractive for volume sector customers, rather than a few avantgarde and financially sound buyers. The project team takes into account, the evolved social and technical framework of the year 2030. Changed mobility patterns and the consequences of climate change will influence the city environment. New networks, new steering systems, technical innovations and new services will save time in private transport, work and leisure time, and during activities such as shopping or finding a car park.

The NRWCar has become a purely battery operated electronic vehicle, since all experts from Europe, USA and East Asia (Japan, China and South Korea) questioned during an EU-project in 2012 anticipate the breakthrough of such cars after 2030, even in the volume segment. Whereas, an NRWCar for the year 2020 would have been a hybrid vehicle in the mini-car, or top class sector.

The project team has designed the first solely battery operated vehicle which could secure added economical value and jobs.




The following work packages were processed respective to a real product development process, and in close dialogue with all project participants.

  1. Gathering of customer requirements for electronic vehicles through the chair of „International Automotive Management“, University Duisburg-Essen.
    • Quantitative analysis of customer groups
    • Quantitative analysis through focus group analysis
    • Field trial and testing of the NRWCar at DesignStudio NRW for the acquisition of customer reactions
  2. Assessment of reservations (barriers to purchasing) of the target customers by the chair of „General Psychology: Cognition “,University Duisburg-Essen.
    • Qualitative and quantities studies of the expectations and reservations of the target customers regarding electronic vehicles
    • Field trial and testing of the NRWCar at DesignStudio NRW for the acquisition of customer reactions
  3. Assessment and development of additional technical services for electronic vehicles by the “Chair of Mechatronics“, University Duisburg-Essen.
    • Framework for the NRWCars vehicle package and technical interpretation of the vehicle
    • Simulation of the drive through the urban environment 2030 using the driving simulator (kindly supported by FORD)
  4. Design and visualisation of the urban environment 2030 by the „ Institute for Urban Planning & Development “, University Duisburg-Essen
    • Design of the drive with the simulator through the city of the future
    • Visualisation of the urban environment 2030 in the form of a video and chart for data gathering at the Car Clinic
    • Concept and draft for the exhibition and guidance system at the Car Clinic
  5. Design and visualisation of the NRWCar by the team „Strategy & Vision // Society in Motion“, Folkwang University of the Arts
    • Concept, draft and digital conversion of the NRWCar
    • Building of the 1:5 scale model (made possible by FORD)
    • Concept and draft for the exhibition and guidance system at the Car Clinic
    • Communications strategies



University Duisburg-Essen

Chair of General Business Administration and International Automotive Management


Prof. Dr. Heike Proff // Nicole Schleiffer, M.Sc. // Dipl. Bw. (Univ.) Thomas Martin Fojcik, M.A. // Stefan Schwarz, LL.M.

University Duisburg-Essen

General Psychology: Cognition


Prof. Dr. Matthias Brand // Laura Bottel, B.Sc. // Silke Müller, B.Sc.


University Duisburg-Essen

Chair of Mechatronics

Prof. Dr. Ing. Dieter Schramm // Dr. Ing. Benjamin Hesse // Dipl. Ing. Martin Koppers // Dipl. Wirt. Inf. Hendrik Völker


University Duisburg-Essen

Institute for Urban Planning & Development

Prof. Dr. Ing. J. Alexander Schmidt // Dipl. Ing. Sonja Hellali Milani // Dipl. Ing. Daniel Bläser


Folkwang University of the Arts

Faculty of Design
Strategy & Vision // Society in Motion


Prof. Kurt Mehnert // Prof. (stv.) Carolin Schreiber // Dipl. Des. Nina Pillen // Jannes Weber, B.A.


Ford Werke GmbH


Caspar Dirk Hohage (n.a.) // Dr. Roland Krüger (n.a.) // Bruno Alves (Rapid Prototyping Specialist) // Bernd Peter (5-axis NC Team Lead) // Ralph Wessels (Design IT) // Harry Blindert-Gritto (Design Fabrication) // Jörg Schäfer (Design Services Manager)