Transforming one electric vehicle owner’s pain into a new EV venture

The challenge

A serial founder, annoyed with the scarcity of support after he purchased his first electric vehicle, and encouraged by the systemic acceleration of EV adoption, approached us to research and identify key obstacles and problems in front of new and prospective EV customers. The founder wanted to tap into the opportunity of the 'EV revolution' - the shift to electric cars, which is thought to be the biggest change to UK society will see in the next 10 years. He wanted to explore the wide range of problems EV owners still face, to identify the most viable tech venture opportunity in this space. 


The Product

The founder has used d.labs Recon for a deep dive into the problem space, assess different opportunities, design the business model and value proposition and get first customer insights. Since the primary goal was to raise a seed investment, we decided on validating promise-market fit and the vision of the company, rather than the usability of the product itself. With this no-product approach, we delivered the value proposition and the promise through a strong brand, an investment deck, a company landing page and a clickable app prototype. 


The process

We started with an opportunity, a rough idea of a solution and an estimated market size. The way forward was to first understand the problems of our customer segment. We recruited and interviewed a number of new electric car owners from the UK, which gave us authentic insights into the pains and challenges facing existing and potential new electric car owners. In addition to primary customer research, we looked at online communities (discussion forums and social media) to identify patterns in the kind of information users are looking for, what types of questions they ask and their overall experiences with owning an electric car. 


By understanding for whom we are building the final solution we were able to conduct a branding sprint to create a unique brand system that supported our marketing and prototyping efforts.  


In the next step, we did an in-depth competitor analysis to find out who the key players in the field are and assess their threat level. By utilising the Strategy canvas framework we were able to better understand which are the competing factors and find a unique value proposition for our potential customers. 


Armed with all the learnings combined, we were able to translate the value proposition of an all-in-one solution for EV ownership with key revenue-driving pillars (Rent, Charge, Insure, Sell and Community) into a landing page to test the response form potential customers, a clickable high fidelity prototype to understand and see if our solutions resonate with the potential customers, and an investment deck. 


Deliverables: 

  • Competition and market analysis (Strategy canvas)
  • B2C Problem interviews
  • Minimum Viable Business Model
  • Value Proposition design
  • Design prototype
  • Minimum Viable Brand and Design System
  • Landing page 
  • Investment deck


The outcome
In 8 weeks after the first touchpoint, we have invalidated an initial solution and provided enough insight to co-create a secondary business model to solve a discovered customer need. The brand we created and the key vision-promise made the venture tangible and provided the founder with an arsenal to start summoning an operating team and preparing for investor’s meetings. We expect that in 3 months from the beginning of exploration, the venture will be incorporated and launched with an objective to attract early customers and investors. 



User insights


  • "EV ownership is a bit like being in a club at the moment. Like with motorcyclists. /.../ You end up having chats with them (other EV owners). You are the pioneers."
  • "I hate not knowing whether a charger is going to work/be available when you get there."
  • "I get overwhelmed with the myriad of chargers."
  • "I had to charge it but couldn't because I don't have the right app."
  • "There was nothing, they gave me the key and I was gone. /.../ There are some things I would like to have been told."
  • "They keep asking how many kilowatts, I'm not really familiar with that. I find it hard to find what are the cheapest charging options to use."



Testimonial


A breath of fresh air


Working with d.labs can best be described as “in Sourcing expertise and advice”. They act like shareholders of the business asking the difficult questions, so as to validate your business proposition before you waste lots of money going in the wrong direction. They really are a “breath of fresh air” and a pleasure to work with

-- Steve Endacott (ECO)