New forms of vehicle maker - supplier interdependence? The case of electric machine development for heavy hybrid vehicles

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Berlin (2010)


fournisseurs, innovation, moteur hybride


Hybrid passenger cars have enjoyed significant sales in recent years. But launching commercially viable heavy hybrid electric vehicles is still a daunting task. The difficulties of developing cost-effective energy storage are a well-known hurdle, but not the only one.
Several engineering obstacles related to the development of electric motors also exist. Electric machines are vital components and strongly influence the performance of hybrid vehicles. However, very few established firms have any experience of supplying these important machines. Therefore heavy vehicle makers have to engage in new partnerships
with new suppliers. This paper builds on patent records and a comparative case study of how two vehicle makers, Volvo and Scania, collaborate with new suppliers to develop electric machines for heavy hybrid busses and trucks. To understand the differences between these partnerships, the paper investigates the impact of technology and application novelty from the supplier and as well as the OEM perspectives. Specifically, the paper studies how these novelties influence inter-firm collaborations with regard to (i) the need for overlapping knowledge bases, (ii) the moment of and the degree of supplier involvement, and (iii) characteristics of coordination.

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