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

Authors: Marc Dijk

Addresses: International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Abstract: 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 (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. We 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). We offer a preliminary discussion of this niche interaction hypothesis for the current momentum of the full-electric vehicle. We 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.

Keywords: regime interaction; niche interaction; market transition; product competition; co-evolution; automotive electrification; engine technology; automobile industry; socio-technical niche; electric vehicles; disruptive innovation; socio-technical regime; established technology; internal combustion technology.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2014.060749

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2014 Vol.14 No.2, pp.158 - 171

Published online: 28 Apr 2014 *

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