‘Big Data’ or ‘Data Analysis,’ is something everyone has heard once in their lifetime, but it is quite unclear how it is actually used. However, service providers in many areas are using these data to develop customized services related to health care, logistics, and many other fields, to benefit our daily lives. Automakers are doing the same. Data is broadly used to communicate with customers; from the planning stage to the development and marketing of new models.
In particular, data is widely used in developing EV models. The data collected from people’s driving habits and information about vehicle conditions are analyzed to understand the driver, which would help the automakers develop the vehicle reflecting the customer’s needs. Though it might seem unclear for the users to recognize how the data would be used specifically, the products and services based on such data are already available in the market. Typical examples include route search services that can be selected by customer preference, range prediction for EVs, and EV trims based on customer characteristics. Let’s take a look at various data analysis cases that are hidden in EVs that help convenient and smart life.
‘Hi-charger’ provides optimized routes and information about charging stations
What is important when traveling a long distance in an electric car? Perhaps most people will be the first to check the location of the electric car charging station. Of course, using navigation can guide you to the location of the charging station on the route, but customers need additional information on the travel time with charging time included, and also waiting time at the charging station.
For this matter, Hyundai is providing the ‘Hi-Charger’ service exclusively for electric vehicle users. The Hi-Charger app provides functions such as searching electric vehicle charging stations across the country, booking charging stations, and diagnosing vehicle conditions while charging. It also selects a charging station available along the route and recommends optimized routes for individual driving patterns.
In order to recommend a charging station available, Hyundai analyzes two types of data: charging speed and expected waiting time for each charging station. The speed of each charging station is analyzed through the data Hyundai collected from their EV users, and the estimated waiting time is provided by the Ministry of Environment. Estimated waiting time is calculated by usage patterns such as day/time usage rate of specific charging stations and single usage time. In addition, personalized routes reflecting individual driving characteristics are recommended by utilizing individual charging history over the past three months to provide route guidance that reflects the driving habits of each driver.
So what convenience does the Hi-Charger app that utilizes this data analysis provide for EV drivers? Before hitting the road, the driver can get all the information about the location and current state of the charging station on the travel route and the total travel time that reflects the time spent at the charging station. In addition, it is possible to check the total number of charging times required for the trip and the expected remaining battery capacity of each charging station based on each EV specs.
More accurate range prediction
While it is important to check the location of the charging station when driving an electric vehicle, it is also important to know the remaining battery and the exact remaining range. Of course, the trip computer in the current EVs also can get their job done, but not as accurate as we want them to be. Also, considering the traffic conditions to the destination, it is not easy to decide when to recharge the vehicle. For this reason, Hyundai is providing a service that analyzes data coming from the vehicle to predict the more accurate range and to show on the map how far it can go with the current remaining battery.
The batteries of EVs are not only used for driving. Turning on the heater in winter and operating the air conditioner in summer also consumes battery, which definitely affects range. HMG calculated the ‘Energy consumption and range estimation based on Big Data’ by calculating power consumption while driving and ambient conditions such as outside temperature and speed. And combined with real-time traffic information from the navigation system, the possible range without charging is shown on the map. This data analysis is more detailed and representative because it reflects various driving environment conditions in the analysis with data collected over a long period of time from operating vehicles.
The story behind the Soul EV Prestige Trim, optimized for everyday driving
In addition to services for electric vehicles, there are cases in which data analysis results have been applied to the development of products for actual vehicles. It is the “Prestige Trim” of Kia Motors’ 2021 Soul EV, which was launched in March this year. Prestige is a little different in character from the trim added to the usual model of model year change. This is because the capacity of the most important driving battery in electric vehicles has changed.
The current 2021 Soul EV uses a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 64 kWh to drive up to 386 kilometers. On the other hand, the Prestige trim reduced the capacity of lithium-ion batteries to 39.2 kWh, and the range also decreased to 250 kilometers. Considering that battery capacity and range are the most important things in electric vehicles, this is not a usual change.
However, not all consumers of electric vehicles want big batteries. Before Kia motors develop the trims, they collected driving data to identify propensity and driving patterns of EV drivers and classified them into four major categories. The first is based on how long and where they usually drive, the second is based on how many times and days they drive their EVs. The third is based on how often and when they charge the batteries. And lastly, the fourth is based on how easy it is for them to reach the charging stations. Based on this information, the automaker analyzed the average propensity and realized the need for economic trims for young consumers.
In particular, it was confirmed that 60% of customers drive less than 250 kilometers a week, after analyzing the data on the distribution of weekly mileage among the top 10% of the internal combustion engine users, and concluded that even if they ride an EV with a range of 250 kilometers, they could cover their demand with a single charge.
The Soul EV Prestige Trim, which was developed through this process, has improved the overall cost as it weighs lighter than the current Soul EV, instead of reducing battery capacity and the single-charge range. The price is also about 6.89 million KRW cheaper than the current Noblesse trim (before tax benefits). In other words, based on the analysis of customer characteristics and driving patterns, the company was able to develop customized products with better overall cost and price competitiveness compared to the current trims.
As above, through data analysis, automakers provide services for their customers’ convenience and even develop new customized trims. HMG is actively using data to understand and communicate with the customers to provide continuous value, not to mention simply making good cars. They are trying to find inspiration from the data analysis and discover products and services that can differentiate their user experiences. And the analysis will be further utilized and expanded to various sectors such as R&D, manufacture, and maintenance as well as electric vehicle development.