Title: Managing learning in the automotive industry – the innovation race for electric vehicles

Authors: Franck Aggeri, Maria Elmquist, Hans Pohl

Addresses: Centre de Gestion Scientifique (CGS), Ecole des Mines ParisTech, 60, Boulevard Saint Michel, 75272 Paris cedex 06, France. ' Center for Business Innovation (CBI), Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Goteborg, Sweden. ' VINNOVA, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Goteborg, Sweden

Abstract: Electrification or hybridisation is the main focus for most car manufacturers today. However, it implies large changes both in terms of the vehicle itself (technology and integrated systems) and of usage and business models. The literature on discontinuous innovation proposes learning as a crucial capability, but there are few empirical studies on how this actually happens in firms. This paper discusses the different learning mechanisms used to develop the capabilities related to Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). It highlights that in this kind of broad innovation field, more advanced mechanisms might be needed by automotive firms aspiring to be leaders, such as market experiments and exploratory partnerships. It also argues that overall learning strategies are necessary to guide the many learning mechanisms involved. The paper contributes to our understanding of how automotive companies deal with disruptive innovations.

Keywords: learning management; automotive innovation; innovative capabilities; hybrid electric vehicles; HEVs; eco-innovation; learning strategies; automobile industry; disruptive innovations; discontinuous innovation; sustainable development; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2009.026394

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2009 Vol.9 No.2, pp.123 - 147

Available online: 09 Jun 2009 *

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