Title: Environmental innovation in auto development - managing technological uncertainty within strict time limits

Authors: Thomas Magnusson, Christian Berggren

Addresses: Linkoping University, Department of Management and Economics, Industrial Management, SE-581 83 Linkoping, Sweden. Linkoping University, Department of Management and Economics, Industrial Management, SE-581 83 Linkoping, Sweden

Abstract: Manufacturing industry is facing increasingly stringent demands on environmental compliance and the auto industry is particularly exposed to pressure from public and authorities in this area. The purpose of this article is to provide an empirical analysis on how the application of new technologies in order to comply with environmental demands may change the product development process within the auto industry. Experiences from the development of Toyota Prius, the worlds first mass-produced car based on a hybrid power train, are presented and analysed. The analysis shows that technological uncertainty made it necessary to move beyond the prevailing lean product development approach. The article concludes by suggesting a strategy consisting of three fundamental elements in order to control technological uncertainty in innovative and time-focused product development projects up-front testing, intense horizontal communication, and clear and challenging objectives.

Keywords: hybrid vehicles; product development; innovation management; technological uncertainty; eco-design; environmental innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2001.001932

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2001 Vol.26 No.2/3, pp.101-115

Published online: 15 Aug 2003 *

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