Brian Gallagher has always been interested in human-machine interface (HMI) design for EVs (Electric Vehicles). In 2007, he joined Aptera Motors, a startup company which built an ultra-efficient three-wheeled electric vehicle. Sadly, the company closed down in 2012. However, on the same year, Gallagher started Andromeda Interfaces which specialize in user interface design for the driver to be able to communicate with the machine in an efficient manner.
It is a very niche expertise that not many companies are doing it. User interface might be a simple thing but as Electric Vehicle is new, it is important that the display is intuitive so that the driver is able to operate it without much difficulty. If the driver does not know how to operate the EV, unintended accidents can happen whereas EVs are built to minimize accidents especially when the driver’s turnover is considered high.
There are a few common EV HMI designs that need to be considered and what Andromeda normally will recommend to their customer. One of them is “Distance to empty (DTE)”. What exactly is DTE? DTE is the distance that can be covered based on the electricity that your car has and your driving patterns. Depending on the driving patterns, it can shrink or expand. Therefore, it is best to be displayed as a simple dial gauge with the miles-to-zero range. Auxiliary Load (electricity consumption) is another example. It is basically the things that contribute to the energy loss, like vehicle seats or radio. Therefore, it can be represented as symbols, text descriptions and exact values on the screen.