3D Environments: Making Electric Cars Accessible

Thanks to the huge investment now pouring into battery technology, EVs are getting cheaper to buy and more efficient to run, with many travelling over 200 miles on a single charge. Previously unimaginable rates of charging are now possible and wireless charging is nearing commercial deployment.

Add this to reduced emissions, lower maintenance costs and government investment and it’s easy to see why electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to familiar gas-powered vehicles.

However, despite their advantages, many people are still hesitant to make the switch to electric cars due to lingering concerns over range, charging infrastructure, and overall reliability and longevity.

This creates a chicken and egg problem with EV growth, at both individual and company fleet level. Buyers are reluctant to buy until there is more visible infrastructure, but more buyers are needed to make investment in infrastructure viable.

There is no way around the viability of charge points being dependent on the EV uptake rates. At the same time, people are less likely to switch if they do not see easily accessible charge points.

A world-class charging infrastructure is therefore absolutely fundamental to increasing the number of EVs on the road, but there is also a level of education required that hasn’t existed in the industry before.

Buyers need to thoroughly research what is still a relatively novel technology, meaning EV buyers in particular are consistently more likely to use digital tools than petrol/diesel buyers.

This may reflect a more “digital” mindset among this demographic, but it is also because buyers are seeking more information and reassurance when buying an EV than when they are buying a more familiar vehicle.

You have to move people past concerns about battery range, charging infrastructure and wait times at charging stations, amongst other things.

That’s where 3D environments can play a crucial role in promoting the adoption of electric cars; for educating buyers and building confidence in the technology and infrastructure roadmap.

By making the ins and outs of electric cars feel more familiar and easier to understand, these experiences can help alleviate concerns and encourage more people to consider electric vehicles.

Understanding 3D Environments

3D environments are digital spaces that simulate the real world in three dimensions. They differ from 2D environments, such as standard websites, videos or photographs, in that they provide a more immersive and interactive experience for the viewer.

By creating an interactive environment, you can help viewers understand complex concepts in a more tangible way. User have control of their view and they can navigate around the experience and drill down into points of interest.

For example, a 3D environment could be a 3D model of a city showing the different charging opportunities available to drivers—at home, on street, at work, at businesses, at charging stations on key roads. Each point of interest providing key facts about the charging capabilities.

Here is a similar example from Bridgestone, showing their sustainability efforts via a 3D environment:

Design Matters

Clear and engaging design makes products or services more accessible and understandable to a wider audience. For 3D environments it’s no different. The focus is on simplifying complex concepts and making them more familiar and relatable to the user.

When it comes to electric cars, this is where well-considered design can help address some of the concerns and uncertainties that may be holding people back from making the switch. By showcasing electric cars in a way that feels familiar and easy to understand, designers can help make them less intimidating and more approachable to a wider audience.

For example, using explanatory graphics or animations to help explain complex concepts. Like how an electric battery runs, how it’s built and why it’s reliable.

Simulations can allow viewers to explore models in a virtual environment, experiencing how they work and how they compare to gas-powered cars. For example, a simulation might allow viewers to see how an electric car’s battery charges when plugged in at a charging station, or how regenerative braking works to recharge the battery while driving.

This could be quite daunting for buyers to research and remember in other formats, but it’s information that can be quickly absorbed visually, helping to alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety that potential buyers may feel.

By combining the immersive and interactive nature of 3D environments with well designed experiences, you can create more effective and engaging promotional materials that can help overcome the concerns about charging needs.

Challenges of Using 3D Environments

While 3D environments offer many benefits, there are also some challenges and considerations that you need to be aware of.

One challenge is the potential for technical issues or limitations. Creating 3D environments can be complex and time-consuming, and may require specialised software or hardware—or the need to work with a development partner.

You also need to consider the technical capabilities of your target audience, such as whether they have the hardware and software necessary to experience the 3D environment.

Another challenge is the need to ensure accuracy and credibility. When using 3D environments to educate people about electric cars, it is important to ensure that the information presented is accurate and reliable. This may require wider business input to ensure that the information presented is up-to-date and based on sound science.

However, despite these challenges, using 3D environments to increase the public awareness and understanding of EVs presents many opportunities.

Personalised 3D Environments

As consumers expect to be able to perform more buying tasks online, the quality and nature of the experiences they seek is also being pushed forward.

Therefore, the use of 3D environments in researching electric cars is likely to become even more important. We can expect to see new and innovative ways of using 3D environments to promote and educate people about electric cars.

What we will see is the development of more personalised and targeted experiences.

By integrating data analytics and machine learning algorithms, you can create 3D environments that are tailored to the preferences and needs of individual viewers. For example, a buyer who is interested in sports cars might be shown a 3D environment that highlights the performance and speed of certain EV models, while a buyer who is interested primarily in sustainability might be shown a 3D environment that emphasises the environmental benefits.

Likewise this could be location-based, showing a visual representation of the infrastructure around them. The opportunities are only limited by what you can imagine (and even then you can get help).

As customer expectations collide with the need to keep up with government objectives, we can expect to see new and innovative ways of using 3D environments to promote and educate people about electric cars. By taking advantage of these opportunities, we can help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation system.

Tools and Techniques for Creating 3D Environments

Creating 3D environments requires specialised tools and techniques.

One of the most important tools for creating 3D environments is computer-aided design (CAD) software. CAD software allows designers to create detailed 3D models. Some of the most popular CAD software programs include AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and SketchUp.

Another important tool for creating 3D environments is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) software. These programs allow designers to create immersive and interactive experiences for viewers, which can be especially useful for promoting electric cars. Some popular VR and AR software programs include Unity, Unreal Engine, and Vuforia.

In addition to software tools, designers also need to have expertise in 3D modeling and animation techniques. This includes knowledge of lighting, texturing, rigging, and other aspects of 3D design.

It’s also important for designers to have access to high-quality 3D assets, such as car models, textures, and animations. These assets can be obtained from online marketplaces, such as TurboSquid, or created in-house by skilled 3D artists.

Finally, designers need to consider the technical specifications of the platform or medium they are using to deliver the 3D environment. For example, if the 3D environment will be viewed on a website, designers need to consider the bandwidth and loading times, while if the 3D environment will be viewed on a VR headset, designers need to consider the resolution and rendering capabilities.

As you can see, creating effective 3D environments for electric cars requires a combination of specialised tools and techniques, and it’s unlikely you will have the people in-house to deliver a project of this scope.

This is why it is best to find a partner with the experience of building 3D environments.

Giving EVs the space they deserve—literally

Electric vehicles (EVs) will will play an important role in reducing carbon emissions and creating a more sustainable future, but despite governments around the world accelerating towards zero emission vehicles, many buyers are still putting on the brakes.

Confidence in the charging infrastructure now stands as the single biggest challenge to decarbonisation, despite us already being at point where EVs only require charging once a week. And the time we save going to the pumps far outweighs the small number of times we need to charge on long journeys.

Dealers, automakers and governments, therefore, all need to work together to build public confidence. People are already curious, they just need the engaging tools to educate themselves.

free resource:

Augmented Reality in retail