Drivers of Electro Mobility Adoption: a contextual analysis

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa International Colloquium 2018, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2018)


Electromobility drivers; environmental policies; energy policies; incentives to electromobility


1. Research Question
The automotive sector is facing new frontiers caused by engagements and transformations in different fields and players. The trending focus is related to powertrain shift and electro mobility, which is enabling emergence of unlike providers, strategy rearrangement of traditional players, and openings for massive changes that can affect not only automotive industry but also fundamental sectors as oil and gas, for instance.
Technological advances through past decades, particularly in batteries, have allowed that shift. However, electric-based powertrains not only require changings in automobile production but also countless efforts and investments in production facilities, services and in infrastructure for their adoption and diffusion. Countries where electric vehicles selling is increasing counted on great efforts from key stakeholders, including national governments support.
Environmental issues is commonly linked to support electro mobility, but some studies presents renewable fuels (ethanol) with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions well-to-wheel (that is, comprehensively from energy production to the wheels of the car) in Europe, even taking a 2030 scenario (Roland Berger, 2016). Therefore, it is reasonable to discuss other drivers to electro mobility than overall global emissions. In this sense, the paper aims to explore those drivers and factors pushing, pressuring and accelerating the shift to electro mobility. Content includes an investigation through energy perspective (policy/strategy/constraints) and commercial aspects such as technology races for dominant design, new entrant’s pressure and aggressiveness, regional issues (localized pollution), and media covering role.
An additional objective is to provoke a discussion about scenarios of transition, associating it to key subjects such as battery disruption advances and China role into electric vehicles development. Chinese automotive market is growing fast, having yet plenty of potential. Its inclination to electric powertrain policies can accelerate transformations and add more complexity into automobile industry.

2. Methodology
In order to achieve the purpose of this paper, we went through a documental research to identify main issues concerning electric vehicles development, presenting current state of powertrain transition, drivers pushing electrification through main important markets and discussing tendencies and expectations for the next decade. We have also investigated national policies of key countries to understand the reasons behind the incentives to electro mobility. Additionally, we conducted interviews with executives connected to the business both in Brazil and in Germany, with business analysts of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), and submitted initial conclusions to a panel of Brazilian scholars involved in the project Industry 2027, sponsored by The National Confederation of Industry (Salerno, Matsumoto, & Amaral, 2017).
3. Main Results
Synthetically, the main results research are presented below.
 Electro mobility is a future already built by a bench of key actors, like national governments, environmentalists, technologists, press, and some companies. For instance, it is astonishing the number of news discussing the benefits and the development towards electro mobility published in the traditional non-specialized press (large newspapers, magazines).
 In contrast to that euphoria towards electrification, countries are facing difficulties on solution deployment and diffusion of cars.
 The driver in some European leading countries are the compromises adopted in environmental agreements, and due to their energy constraints, changing energy sources for cars being the easiest or the only way to reduce national emissions.
 Some policies are driven by regional localized problems, like urban pollution in Beijing and Shanghai, in China.
 The race for establish new business and a dominant design for the electric car is an additional drive that pushes countries and companies.
 Scenarios and predictions for the industry future, considering important factors such as battery technological advances and China policies into electric mobility.
4. Practical Implications
Electro mobility is being built as an inexorable future even considering its current internal costs (batteries etc.) that makes cars more expensive than similar ICE (internal combustion engines) ones. Few companies dominate the automotive environment, which is one of the most globalized industries. Manufacturers’ design and engineering offices are usually centralized in their headquarters, with vehicle´s structural changings and innovations created to reach global platforms. Consequently, local and marginal markets are supposed to get and absorb those shifts. Electro mobility has reinforced centralization, R&D in the field being completely under central facilities.
Along with, the costs of externalities may be immense, mainly in infrastructure, usually let for the State to provide – and to assume the costs and the risks. Only rich States with a reasonable financial situation can assume the investments and the incentives (tax, consumption and similar) that are being practiced. This may lead to sharp asymmetries in adoption.
It is important to understand that the transition to electric powertrains requires great amount of efforts and investment. Peripheral markets stakeholders need to analyze and monitor movements in automotive industry in order to planning adoption (or seek opportunities) considering their own context.
5. References
Coutinho, L.; Ferraz, J. C., (coords.), "Mapa de Clusters Tecnológicos e Tecnologias Relevantes para a Competitividade de Sistemas Produtivos ". Documento Interno de Trabalho, Projeto Indústria 2027, Rio de Janeiro: IE-UFRJ; Campinas: IE-Unicamp.
Roland Berger. (2016). Integrated fuels and vehicles roadmap to 2030+. Munich. Retrieved from
Salerno, M. S., Matsumoto, C., & Amaral, G. (2017). Nota Técnica: Sistema Produtivo Complexo Automotivo - foco Veículos Leves. Rio de Janeiro.

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