back to case studies

Intelligent Energy

ENV bike

Selling cells to showcase the future

International power systems company Intelligent Energy had world-class hydrogen fuel cell technology, but consumers and industry were slow to grasp its enormous potential. A compelling application of the cell's power could engage mass-market customers around the world and embody the reality of a saleable product to potential business partners. Seymourpowell's response was a world first - a motorcycle from the future: sleek, elegant and emitting nothing but pure water vapour.

Challenge
Intelligent Energy needed a product innovation that would demonstrate the simplicity, small size and relatively high power output of its hydrogen fuel cell technology. Following a series of 'crucible' workshops with Seymourpowell, the motorcycle was chosen as the best industrial design route to showcase the cell's advantages. The question then became 'What kind of motorcycle?'.

Response
To answer this, Seymourpowell Foresight conducted product research into the global markets for powered two-wheeler vehicles, as well as ethnographic research into their use in different areas. This showed that the majority of users wanted something lightweight, easy to handle and easy to use. Further attitudinal research revealed that any new automotive design should look and feel elegant and simple - not complicated or technical - whilst remaining visually exciting.

Appealing to the broadest range of customers demanded a clear product design language - a bike for 'the iPod generation'. It needed to be very light, fast enough to use in traffic and also irresistible: engaging public enthusiasm was essential if the design were to act as a business innovation tool for the client.

With its in-house research, ethnographic and industrial design teams, Seymourpowell was uniquely placed to rise to this challenge for Intelligent Energy.

Result
The result was ENV: the world's first purpose-built hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle. Almost silent, sleekly elegant and emitting only pure water vapour, the new machine delivered a whole new paradigm in consumer transportation.

Launched in the UK, Monaco and Los Angeles, ENV won hearts and minds wherever it appeared, winning a string of design, eco and automotive awards and appearing in over 600 television transmissions, on 500 radio shows and countless articles.

Using Seymourpowell's strategic innovation, ENV put Intelligent Energy firmly in the public arena, opening doors on every level for the company. In 2006, Intelligent Energy was one of a very small number of companies worldwide to be named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

One of the most amazing inventions of 2005

TIME magazine


Probably the most important new motorcycle, ever

Motorcycle News UK
back to top