Key Business Strategies of SMEs in North-West Europe

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2013)


Electric Drivetrain; SME Business Strategies; SME Working Principles; Electric Vehicle Market Overview in North-West Europe;


The electrification of the drivetrain offers a viable solution for the sustainability needs in the automotive industry. But, at the meantime, battery electric vehicles have high costs, a low level of consumer acceptance and there is a lack of recharging points. Thus, the situation opens a technology-driven niche market, attractive for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and allows them offering innovative electric vehicle solutions for the niche market. Yet, business strategies of SMEs vary in different regions since supply chain development, the manufacturing incentives and the infrastructure development are often regional diverse. To understand the motivations driving the developments of SMEs, the European Network on Electric Vehicles and Transferring Expertise (ENEVATE) partnership conducted several interviews with SMEs throughout North-West Europe. In order to interview the SMEs, qualitative research methodology and semi structured in-depth interviews are adopted. Required data was gathered from intentionally chosen companies that are engaged in electric vehicles business related activities in North-West Europe. The raw data was then analysed and key themes were identified by means of the seven stages of an interview investigation method. It was found that whereas some themes are same such as consumer relations, initial motivation, target market, financing and technology strategies some themes are regional such as manufacturing and business model decisions and manufacturing incentives. For example, whereas SMEs` initial motivation is same that is the attraction of a niche market, their business models vary owing to the financing situations. Similarly, their manufacturing strategies are also subject to the funding available. Yet, the technology choices of SMEs are independent and all of them offer cutting-edge technology solutions for various applications.

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