Firm perspectives on hydrogen

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2011)


In this paper we analyze technological frames of car firms towards development of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV). We examine the framing of firms by studying their belief systems and actual engagement. The central question is: Which underlying beliefs significantly drive the engagement in the development of ULEV technology? A second question concerns whether we can map out diversity between firms. We thus ‘step into the shoes’ of the car firms and analyse their social, business, technological and environmental considerations. In order to achieve enough focus, we will focus on hydrogen vehicle technology as an example of an ULEV. Various scholars, industry strategists as well as policy makers acknowledge hydrogen as an important future energy carrier for transportation.
In section 1 we first introduce how car firms view car engines in general. We then present results of our survey to identify present-day beliefs of global car firms towards development of hydrogen propulsion technology (section 2). In section 3 we discuss the outcomes, also in the light of additional semi-structured interviews. The outcomes suggest that different firms deal differently with hydrogen vehicle development. Broadly, three groups of firms can be distinguished concerning their engagement in ULEV: uncertain firms, unwilling firms and optimistic firms. Further we find that the level of technological and organizational capabilities seems most strongly correlated to the actual engagement of firms in hydrogen technology development. Finally, we address the relation of actor beliefs and actor framing, offering a conclusion at the end.



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