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System innovation dynamics around electric vehicles. The cases of Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on the comparison of electric car innovation patterns in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Doing so, it takes a closer look at what the most essential dynamics in the systems were over time and what enabled those dynamics. The main research aim is to contribute to a wider understanding of why Norway is so much ahead of Sweden and Denmark in electric car adoption. The purpose is also to adopt a perspective that goes beyond a mere focus on economic policy instruments. In order to do so different theory elements are combined in a framework. These elements stem from the transition theory literature field, especially the technological innovation system (TIS) and the multi-level perspective (MLP). This combination allows analysing the development behind a dynamic, not just when it comes to an innovation itself but also with regards to the established regime. The data is gathered through analysis of existing documents and data as well as a series of 27 expert interviews conducted in the three case countries. The findings suggest that there are important differences in transition patterns that can account for the electric vehicle (EV) diffusion situation we can find nowadays in the three Nordic countries. An important stepping stone was the need for a very strong legitimacy of the original EV vision that is also anchored in a coordinated, sector overarching coalition of actors that thinks strategically and long term. Moreover some general beneficial dynamics could be identified across the countries in question. In Norway these beneficial dynamics can be summarised as a systems motor, in Denmark as a failed entrepreneurial motor that shifted towards a constrained municipal motor and in Sweden as a loosely, coordinated and weaker version of a systems motor.

Keyword [en]
Technological Innovation System (TIS), Multi-level perspective (MLP) electric vehicles (EV), innovation policy, industry policy, environmental policy, energy policy
National Category
History of Technology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Economic History Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Energy Systems Transport Systems and Logistics Infrastructure Engineering
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment; Transport Science; Industrial Economics and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206972OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-206972DiVA: diva2:1094758
Projects
Norstrat
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Note

QC 20170511

Available from: 2017-05-11 Created: 2017-05-11 Last updated: 2017-05-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Enabling socio-technical transitions – electric vehicles and high voltage electricity grids as focal points of low emission futures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enabling socio-technical transitions – electric vehicles and high voltage electricity grids as focal points of low emission futures
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today humankind is facing numerous sustainability challenges that require us to question CO2 intensive practices like those present in the transport and energy sector. To meet those challenges, many countries have adopted ambitious climate targets. Achieving such targets requires an understanding of the wider socio-technical context of transitions. The aim of this licentiate thesis is therefore to analyse such socio-technical transitions towards low-emission futures enabled by the electrification of passenger cars and high voltage grid development.

A combination of different transitions theories (for ex. Multi-level perspective and Technological innovation systems) and institutional theory has been used. To reach the aim paper I analyses the climate impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) and policy measures to achieve a breakthrough scenario for EVs. The results show that a mixture of short and long term policies are needed that take into account the technology development stage and behavioural aspects of EV adopters. Paper II addresses the need to include the high voltage transmission grid and its planning procedures as a central part of debates on transitions. Therefore the opportunities, challenges and reasons for conflict in the established regime are studied. The results show that in order to achieve a sustainable grid development regime, it is necessary to spend time on achieving legitimacy and social sustainability. The third paper uses semi-structured expert interviews and focuses on innovation dynamics for EV adoption. By focusing on dynamics instead of single policy measures, it is possible to grasp interactions within a niche, but also in between a niche, regime and landscape. The results show that strong initial technology legitimacy was needed to start substantial innovation dynamics. This could be further strengthened with a strong and broad coalition of actors. Both those factors led, if present, to an improved variety and match of policy instruments.

As such this thesis has shown that transitions are not just about technology or policy instruments as such but about the dynamics and processes needed to enable them. This can be relevant in other transitions that otherwise may underestimate the importance of these components.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. 30 p.
Keyword
Socio-technical system, innovation system, transition, MLP, TIS, low emission future, electric vehicles, high voltage transmission grid, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary History of Technology Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Energy Systems Transport Systems and Logistics Infrastructure Engineering Economic History
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206973 (URN)978-91-7729-438-2 (ISBN)
Presentation
2017-06-14, L52, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Norstrat
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Note

QC 20170512

Available from: 2017-05-12 Created: 2017-05-11 Last updated: 2017-05-15Bibliographically approved

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