German researchers have developed an electric car configurator that will give automakers better insight into real customer requirements.

The configurator, built by technology management researchers of the Fraunhofer IAO Institute, not only lets potential EV customers virtually build the car of their choice. It also allows them to evaluate and rate the different aspects of the car.

Based on the configuration, which can include a range of powertrain, body style and other options, users can see the price tag on the car they want and the running costs they can expect. In addition, the configurator will provide information on tailpipe emissions, including CO2.

The Fraunhofer researchers will use the data to get a better idea what kind of electric car potential customers would want to buy.

The configurator is especially focused on battery-electric vehicles, but it also allows other powertrain options such as gasoline, diesel, gas, hybrids, plug-in hybrids or range-extended EVs.

The Web site consists of three parts: a short questionnaire about the potential buyer, the configuration itself and subsequent evaluation of the car, and the configuration of the environment in which the car will be used.

The EV car configurator, which is available in German only, can be found at www.ev-configurator.de.

-Arjen Bongard