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[YesAuto Design Decoding] When three international design masters, Wolfgang Iger, Juanma Lopez and Michele Paganetti, gather at BYD, what kind of “chemical reaction” will happen? This year we finally saw the long-awaited answer: Han. I have to say that Han is indeed a pretty amazing model. Have you ever thought about the effect when BYD applies the latest brand design language to SUV models? Now we also have the answer: Song PLUS, a new car positioned between Song Pro and Tang. Two days ago, we have released detailed real shots and videos of Song PLUS, and today we are going to talk about the story behind its design.

■ Interview with Michele Paganetti

◆ Talk about the understanding of the Chinese market and Chinese culture

Among the three major international design designers of BYD, Michelle is the latest one to join. From the beginning of 2019 to the present, it has been less than two years. In fact, at the Song Pro tasting meeting in April last year, I had a relationship with him. It is worth mentioning that it was not only the debut of Song Pro, but also the first appearance of Wolfgang Iger, Juanma Lopez and Michele on the same stage. The three most important men behind the BYD brand design can be described as shining stars.

Although all three BYD designers come from Europe, they come from different countries. Iger is a German, Lopez is a Spaniard, and Michele is from Switzerland and did not know Iger before joining. However, in the design circle, everyone knows that Iger joined BYD. Michelle became interested in BYD just by understanding Iger's story. It is reported that he personally admired Tang's design before entering BYD, and he was very surprised that Iger presented such a work in a short period of time.

Before coming to China, Michelle had always used Western media to describe China and Chinese culture, but after he came, he felt very different from the descriptions of Western media. And he also prefers to go out and take risks every day, to constantly explore, discover new cultures and differences between China and the West, and listen to these differences. On the whole, Michelle thinks that after coming to BYD, the Chinese feel very friendly and give him a lot of help. The overall impression is very good.

◆ What is the experience of working at BYD?

Looking at Michele's work history, he had already entered the Volkswagen Group to engage in automotive design before the BYD brand was established. Both Volkswagen and Daimler Group are world-renowned and have a long history. So, what is his biggest challenge after coming to BYD, a young Chinese brand?

The balance referred to by Michelle is to gather the strengths of each family and learn from each family's experience. Although he has more than 30 years of automotive design experience, he also deeply admires the speed of China's development and is amazed. There are many young people in BYD, so after he comes to China, he will not be very upright or arrogant. As the saying goes, “Three people must have my teacher.” Michelle believes that young people have a lot to learn from. It is necessary to combine car experience, as well as young people's fresh knowledge and youthful passion. This is the so-called balance.

◆ BYD has never prioritized design as much as it does today

For today's new car, I believe that many of my friends feel tangled when they see its name. Song, Song MAX, Song Pro, and now there is Song PLUS, which is the Song family, it is clearly the mobile phone family bucket. In fact, the official definition of “PLUS” is as follows: Popular (fashion) + Luxury (new luxury) + Upgraded (advanced) + Sense (with sense). Therefore, compared with Song Pro, Song PLUS is not only bigger, but a comprehensive improvement in design and texture.

Michelle revealed to us that the cost of labor to produce a car in Europe and the United States is very high, so it is difficult for a car with a level of 100,000 to 200,000 yuan to have high-quality interior workmanship and configuration functions. On the other hand, the average income level of Chinese citizens is lower than that of Europe. For them, a car of more than 100,000 is not a cheap car. With this combination, it only takes less than 200,000 yuan to buy a car of very good quality in China.

The arrival of the world's top design masters has enabled BYD to achieve a real transformation, from “technical” single-wheel drive to “technical + design” two-wheel drive. There is no doubt that design is now a bonus item for BYD models, not a shortcoming. So, as BYD's second blockbuster product in 2020 after Han, what are the design highlights of Song PLUS? Let's take a look at it right away.

◆ The fuel version breaks the tradition, and the grille improves the tonality

When “Dragon Face” dragon soul aesthetics evolved to the 3.0 stage, especially the launch of Han, people have a new understanding of BYD's design. At this tasting meeting, Song PLUS released a fuel version and an EV version, which is not surprising. What's interesting is that its fuel version is easy to be mistaken for the “DM version”. The designer especially talked to us about the original intention of this design.

Fan Jihan said frankly that the issue of the Song PLUS fuel version using the same grille style as the Han DM has been discussed intensely internally. From another perspective, if it uses the horizontal spokes of the conventional fuel version, it will not be visually different from the Song Pro, and consumers will easily fall into choice difficulties. Therefore, the design of Song PLUS breaks BYD's previous norms.

According to official data, the Song PLUS fuel version and the EV version have the same dimensions, with a length, width and height of 4705*1890*1680 (mm) respectively, and a wheelbase of 2765mm. Compared with Song Pro, its length, width and wheelbase have been increased. In addition, its height is 20mm lower than Song Pro, so it is wider and lower overall.

After Iger joined, BYD slowly began to play with the lights, and this was fully reflected in Song PLUS. The headlight group design consists of a wake-up LED headlight named “Dragon Beam” and an inverted “777” LED daytime running light. Its difficulty is that the three-piece lamp block adopts a suspended design, and the jitter of the vehicle when driving will greatly test the reliability and durability of the lamp set. For this reason, the designer often “fighted” with the engineering team to keep the plan.

According to the designer, Song PLUS will provide four rim styles to choose from. The 20-inch rim displayed at this tasting meeting is an optional accessory. Even if this option is aside, there are not many models that can be equipped with 19-inch wheels as standard in SUVs of the same level. Therefore, Song PLUS is definitely a heavyweight.

The two most difficult exterior covers of Song PLUS are the engine compartment cover mentioned earlier, and the other is the trunk cover. The difficulty lies in the extended hemming design of the rear fender. As a product manager, Fang Jinrong once hoped that the bottom hemming could be as close as possible to the fenders, and it also had a “C” shape effect, but the designer didn't buy it. Of course, this also reflects the increasing power of designers in vehicle development.

◆ EV version: The front face adopts the same homology design as Chinese

The design of the Song PLUS EV version can be said to be expected. It adopts the same design as that of Han and is the first dynasty SUV model after Han to apply E-SEED GT concept elements. The biggest difference between the appearance of the Song PLUS EV version and the fuel version is the front face. The sides and rear of the body maintain the same design. Interested friends can read our real shot articles, and I won't go into details in this article.

The design styles of the EV version and the fuel version are completely different. Judging from the netizens' comments on the actual shooting articles, the EV version is well received. I believe that the E-SEED GT concept elements will also be used in the electric version of the Dynasty series in the future. Today's BYD design language can be said to be unified without losing the individuality of subdivided products.

◆ Let the SUV also have the elegant interior like a sedan

The interior of Song PLUS was designed by Michelle. At this tasting meeting, he personally came to share with you the story behind the design. You might think, Michelle has only come to BYD for more than a year, so why did he lead the design? In fact, before he came, the interior design of Song PLUS had been “finalized”, but Michelle felt that it was too flat after reading it, so he “tipped it down and rebuilt” and redesigned the interior in a short period of time. What needs to be explained in advance is that since the interiors of the Song PLUS fuel version and the EV version are basically the same, there are only subtle differences in color and materials, so the EV version of the interior is mainly explained here.

Michelle believes that it is very necessary to adopt horizontal and vertical designs for air-conditioning outlets. As we mentioned earlier, the lattice grille is vertical. The vertical arrangement represents the unique strength of the SUV, while the horizontal arrangement can better reflect the car. Elegant feeling. In Song PLUS's car, the designer hopes to create a cockpit that combines SUV dynamics and sedan elegance.

Michelle believes that good design should not be too complicated, so the key words in the interior of Song PLUS emphasize symmetry and cleanliness. On the center console of Song PLUS, we can hardly see the extra lines, even the buttons are all set on both sides of the handle, all of which make the user feel comfortable in the visual effect.

◆ The first gradual interior decoration / talk about the integration of Chinese culture

According to different versions, Song PLUS provides different styles of interior matching. Among them, the gradual interior developed with a new technology is quite unique. It presents the natural gradual transition of ink-dipped brown and basalt black in one piece, bringing more advanced visual enjoyment.

Michelle explained to us the reasons for the different interior distribution: the fuel version should highlight the power and elegance of the Dynasty series; the EV version, as the trend of the new era, should reflect the feeling of lightness and high technology. Therefore, both materials and color combinations are different.

In the early design career of Michele, he had experience in the design of helicopters and yachts. He said that it was a unique experience: Mercedes-Benz was headquartered in Germany, and when the team was working in Italy, there was a sense of isolation and loneliness. So he was thinking about how to motivate local employees to innovate. Cooperation project of helicopter and yacht company. It is not difficult to see that Michele is a design master who actively pursues innovation. This time, Song PLUS's gradient interior and co-driver welcome panel left a deep impression.

Whether it is Iger, Lopez or Michele, they are all learning about Chinese culture through their own experience. When Iger first came, he was often taken to eat Chinese food and visit historical sites to learn about Chinese history. Although Michelle has been here for the shortest time, he is also working hard to truly apply Chinese cultural elements through learning, rather than simply copy and paste.

In terms of riding experience, the design team focuses on the improvement of comfort while maintaining the dynamic feeling that young people want. After Song PLUS has lengthened the wheelbase, it is necessary to consider the balance between the rear seat space and the size of the trunk. If the back of the seat is too vertical, it will be uncomfortable. In the end, the team optimized the ergonomics and set a more The inclination angle is in line with the riding habits of Chinese people.

Full text summary:

“PLUS” not only means enlargement, but an all-round upgrade. According to Song PLUS's positioning between Song Pro and Tang, I believe that you can guess its future price range. Such a new car (fuel version) with both appearance, texture and sense of technology, this really makes the “old drivers” look forward to it. We also hope that this kind of design sharing will enable everyone to learn more about the design story behind Song PLUS. Just like liking a person, it must start with a real understanding of him. What's more, he can rely on his appearance.