The HWE Puzzle, a Fortmarei-designed commercial EV in the KEI car segment, was unveiled at the Tokyo Mobility Show 2023. Puzzle transcends the traditional role of the commercial vehicle, supporting society in daily life and in times of disaster with unexpected additional features, expressing HWE’s core values of social contribution, sustainability and connectivity. The production version is scheduled to launch in 2025.

What makes Puzzle unique is that it has been designed not only for the owners of the vehicles and for the drivers inside, but for everyone around the vehicles as well.

Blurring the boundary between public space and the vehicle itself, Puzzle features publicly accessible AC outlets, USB ports, wi-fi internet connectivity and emergency tools. Roof-mounted solar panels ensure functionality even during prolonged power outages. The emergency tools – a first aid kit and a crowbar (the primary tool for clearing debris in disaster zones) – were carefully selected in collaboration with the Federation of BOSAI Education Japan, a disaster prevention organization. Like all HWE vehicles, Puzzle is connected to an AI powered software platform called MyHWE, further enhancing disaster response as well as optimizing delivery service and cargo management.

This extra functionality raises a question: how to keep the vehicle affordable? The answer is the Puzzle Design Approach. Dramatic simplification of parts allows them to recur and slot together like puzzle pieces. This way, the manufacturing process is more sustainable and less costly, leaving room for additional functionality.

Simplification of parts is done by applying four principles: flat surfaces, flush surfaces, edge-to-edge panels, and 90- and 45-degree angles. This is no longer ‘form follows function’, but rather, ‘function is form’.

Puzzle’s straight lines and right angles make for an exceptionally large and efficient cargo space. The flat surfaces also allow for the interior’s pinboard functionality, empowering drivers to customize their workspace and efficiently move private items from home to office, office to Puzzle, and Puzzle to Puzzle, increasing comfort during their workday.

The aesthetic of the Puzzle Design Approach, combined with a friendly facial expression inspired by an existing HWE product, results in a unique, modern, and approachable appearance.