A socio–technical perspective on the electrification of the automobile: niche and regime interaction

This paper offers a socio–technical perspective on how the introduction of various alternatives to the internal combustion engine, especially the full–electric vehicle, influences the established propulsion technology (internal combustion engine (ICE)). This perspective helps to move beyond the well–known incremental vs. radical innovation dichotomy - usually referring to product innovation– and maps out the socio–technical dimension of market evolution. The authors offer a conceptual contribution by proposing a hypothesis for how a disruptive innovation, depicted as socio–technical niche, interacts with the established technology, the socio–technical regime (i.e., what it will do to the regime). The authors offer a preliminary discussion of this niche interaction hypothesis for the current momentum of the full–electric vehicle. The authors find various types of niche interactions between alternative engine technologies over the last 20 years, some competitive and some symbiotic in character, in the context of a significant 'sailing ship effect' around internal combustion technology.


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  • Accession Number: 01526718
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 5 2014 4:21PM