Niche experiments with alternative powertrain technologies: The case of electric city-buses in Europe

Type de publication:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 16, Number 3, p.274-300 (2016)



Using sociotechnical transitions literature, this paper analyses the early market introduction of electric city-buses in Europe. It identifies the role of bus manufacturers and their corresponding choices of alternative powertrain and charging technologies. The study results contrast the traditional dichotomy of incumbents versus niche actors and questions perceived role of incumbents as a homogenous group of actors. The paper proposes an alternative to the typical perception of industry incumbents as the guardians of the current sociotechnical regime, suggesting that a strong position in the established regime may actually facilitate introduction of radical technological solutions. The paper invites transition scholars to make more detailed analyses of actors' constellations and it further suggests that policy makers need to pay attention to the diversity of individual actors' strategies. Copyright © 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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