Argonne National Laboratory is working to create universal charging for electric vehicles. Through its new Electric Vehicle Interoperability Center, the group is studying ways to standardize charging so any type of electric vehicle in any country can charge at any charging station. Additionally, the research is working on ways to better integrate electric cars to a smart grid, to the point where EVs could even act as part of the grid, charging when they need it and providing electricity during peak hours. Go to Phys.org for more details.
Smart has launched its "For" campaign in Europe. The maker of the tiny city cars is reaching out to the public through updated branding, ads through various channels and social media engagement to get people thinking about Smart in fresh ways. The campaign emphasizes the "For" idea, as in "For challenging the status quo," "For loving the city," etc. Also as part of the campaign, Smart will be embarking on a Europe-wide roadshow to 15 different cities, where the public can learn more about the cars – particularly the Fortwo and Forfour models – and even arrange a test drive. Read more in the press release below.
Honda is publicly sharing plans associated with its Smart Home project. The project, which goes beyond cars and into the home to look for ways to live efficiently and reduce CO2 emissions, involves sustainable energy and heating and cooling methods, smart lighting, sustainable building materials and waste management, passive design and, of course, vehicle charging. Now, technical details such as architectural plans, mechanical drawings, furniture specs and CAD data will be open-source and publicly available for any interested parties. Check out the Honda Smart Home website to learn more, or to start downloading the plans yourself.
Functionality, innovation and joie de vivre – these are the brand values that make smart so unique. smart sees itself as a future-oriented, visionary brand that stands for a great idea. smart is more than just a car; smart is a manifestation of urban joie de vivre. This is expressed by the new brand campaign which is being launched under the leitmotif "FOR". "FOR" stands for a constructive, positive and optimistic outlook that can change the world. "FOR" is also an appeal not to be one of those who are always "against" everything, but to make a positive contribution: for more quality of life in the city, for more space, for more mobility, for more joie de vivre. This attitude is inherent in the genes of the smart brand. The campaign starts at the beginning of July 2014. It comprises a Europe-wide classic campaign together with comprehensive online and social media activities and a roadshow.
"With the 'FOR' brand campaign we are lending expression to the smart outlook and showing what drives smart, our staff and smart drivers," says head of smart Dr Annette Winkler. "smart is much more than just a car. smart has always been a great idea for urban mobility. An idea that is always in motion because it sees the status quo as a challenge rather than an obstacle. An idea that faces the major and minor issues of urban traffic with a smile. And with answers that make life in the city easier, brighter and more carefree each and every day."
The updated brand positioning is also manifested in the revised corporate design. The revised brand label is more self-confident and modern in character. The brand ring, which also has a more central and dominant role in the products, is now larger and radiates more strongly than before. The brand name, too, is more succinct and therefore more significant and visible. The spoken brand name is to be used henceforth as a new sound logo. The launch of the new visual appearance is to tie in with the start of the brand campaign.
The brand campaign marks the beginning of a new smart era, heralding in the new vehicles from smart: the new smart fortwo and the new smart forfour will have their world premieres in the course of July. The third generation of the smart fortwo sports a more progressive appearance while remaining unmistakeably smart: fresh, modern and self-confident. Extremely short overhangs at front and rear – these characteristic proportions offer excellent visibility and agility, and in conjunction with a rear engine they permit a passenger cell offering unrivalled spaciousness in such compact design. The smart forfour adopts these characteristic design features as a totally new interpretation of the four-seater concept. It augments the smart product portfolio as an intelligent, urban vehicle for four people and demonstrates with a fresh design and innovative ideas that practical cars can also embody a distinctive character.
"FOR" on all communication channels
The Europe-wide smart campaign comprises the three key components of classic communication, digital communication and social media together with a roadshow. All these elements are closely interlinked. CRM measures, trade marketing and literature round off the campaign.
The classic measures employ powerful, striking imagery to communicate the outlook of the smart brand, which stands for urban joie de vivre like no other. The brand communication measures will be on show internationally from the end of July to September 2014 in the form of TV films, print and out‑of-home motifs.
The brand film highlights the fact that smart has always been more than a car manufacturer. smart is a great idea for urban mobility. The brand film proclaims what smart stands FOR – FOR a new urban joy.
Print and out-of-home motifs encapsulate the FOR stances that reflect the core of the brand:
– FOR being a pioneer.
– FOR challenging the status quo.
– FOR making room for the good stuff.
– FOR being optimistic.
– FOR loving the city.
The print motifs will also be displayed at the showrooms in the course of comprehensive trade marketing activities.
All the classic campaign measures invite the target groups to participate and to identify with "FOR" and incorporate links to the URL www.smart.com/FOR and the hashtag "#WhatAreYouFOR", which form a central element of overall communications.
Digital campaign communication
On the social web, the brand campaign initiates dialogue with users, drivers and city dwellers:
smart Mind OpenerThe movies open the door to a new outlook, as it were: they provide surprising and emotional content and demonstrate in entertaining fashion that "FOR" is more than an advertising claim. It is an attitude that can change cities on a lasting basis: FOR a safer city, FOR more smiles, FOR a colourful city, FOR a new urban joy.
FOR stream: A stream on www.smart.com/FOR serves to aggregate the content which is generated via #WhatAreYouFOR on the social web or which is entered by users directly as their own FOR stances on www.smart.com/FOR.
The web special, which will be online until the end of 2014, is to be activated via various online activities – from bannering to contributions in blogs and social networks.
smart roadshow through 15 European cities
A key element of the brand campaign is a Europe-wide roadshow. smart will invite the inhabitants of 15 major cities to celebrate the joie de vivre in their city together. The roadshow will successively stop in each of the respective cities from Thursday to Saturday over the period from July to November 2014. The smart roadshow will be presenting a diverse programme of events. The star attractions will be the new smart fortwo and the new smart forfour. The roadshow will offer visitors an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the new models and to arrange test drives. Further interactive product and brand information will round off the roadshow.
smart will be offering a bandstand for local artists on each day of the roadshow events: during the day, the stage will feature appearances from the areas of music, dance and performance, while music acts will hit the stage in the evenings. The focus on special local aspects and local protagonists will appeal to the visitors' emotions and link these to the smart stance "FOR". This approach is also manifested in the roadshow architecture: the facade of the portable construction reflects the city concerned, offering visitors a fresh view of their city.
The brand campaign has been evolved and is to be implemented by the long-standing smart agencies BBDO Berlin (strategy, concept development and implementation of the international brand campaign) and K-MB Agentur für Markenkommunikation (concept development and implementation of the smart roadshow), which is also based in Berlin.