Dezeen Magazine

Electrification will transform vehicle design philosophy say automotive industry experts

The electrification of vehicles is changing the philosophy of how cars are designed, according to a panel of automotive industry experts during a talk hosted by Dezeen and Bentley.

The talk brought together a panel of designers and experts specialising in transport and vehicle design to discuss the future of mobility and the expansion of electric vehicles.

The panellists discussed how consumers should be aware of the political narratives at play when it comes to electrification and sustainability.

"We live in an era where so much of the focus in public discourse is on the negative," Swiss designer Yves Béhar said during the talk. "You have to seep through this sort of clickbait mentality out there to really see what the possibilities are."

Panellists during the Bentley Lighthouse talk
The talk was hosted by Dezeen's editorial director Max Fraser

Kirsty Dias, managing director at PriestmanGoode, explained her belief that the design industry should assure consumers that electric vehicles are a safe and responsible option in order to encourage its widespread adoption.

"[Anti-EV rhetoric] shouldn't be used as a vote winner for a populist vote, because the climate issue is bigger than an electoral term," Dias said.

"We really need to work as an industry beyond politics and ensure that we're working together to convince people that it is safe and responsible."

Panellists during the Bentley Lighthouse talk
Panellists discussed how the luxury automotive industry could adapt to social changes

The talk, which was titled Towards a New Future of Mobility, explored the modernisation of public transport and how people will be impacted by rapid developments in the transport sector.

Other topics touched on include the uptake of shared and micro mobility, along with the developments in autonomous vehicles.

"I think the third generation EVs [electric vehicles] are truly going to take advantage of what technology can do from a design standpoint, from a user standpoint and from a practicality standpoint," Béhar said.

"It's an actual changing philosophy of how to design cars," added Robin Page, design director at Bentley Motors.

Audience member asking a question during the Bentley Lighthouse talk
The panel discussion took place in front of a live audience

The panellists also discussed how technology such as virtual reality (VR) could be used to improve the accessibility of automobile design.

"I think one of the biggest transformations is the consideration of human factors when it comes to transport", explained Karla Jakeman, head of automated transport at TRL.

"One of the really interesting uses of VR is for people, for example, with neurodiversity issues, to anticipate and plan journeys so that they feel much more comfortable and confident when they're embarking on a journey," Dias said.

Dezeen and Bentley's logos displayed on a sign during the talk
The talk was the second in the Lighthouse series hosted with Bentley Motors

"Using the tools we have as designers, you can create these experiences so that you can actually go into someone else's viewpoint and look at things," continued Page. "And then we can come up with solutions to tackle those issues."

If someone has ASD, autism, for example, some of the challenges for one person will be very different to another. We're understanding more and more, so as our understanding builds, then more and more guidance will be provided" added Jakeman.

"Understanding the needs of all of those users is really important. It opens up this box of design opportunities to challenge the industry and move things forward," Page concluded.

The talk was the second in the Lighthouse series of panel discussions hosted by Dezeen and Bentley exploring the future of luxury. It was held at The Lavery Room in Cromwell Place during London Design Festival 2023.

The talk was moderated by Dezeen's editorial director Max Fraser and featured a panel of transport and vehicle designers including Yves Béhar from Fuseproject, Kirsty Dias from Priestman Goode, Robin Page from Bentley Motors and Karla Jakeman from TRL.

Partnership content

This video was produced by Dezeen as part of a partnership with Bentley. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.