New eco-system architectures: transitioning to a ‘green’ industry and embedding the automobile in societal and political contexts

Theme N°: 

The transformation of the eco-system of the automotive industry, driven in part by digitalization, was expected to trigger transformations in the architecture of products and value chains. Eco-systems are outside the control of any single actor, such as the OEMs, and are therefore more open to influence. For some aspects the main “architects” are countries, which can influence policies at the local, national and supranational levels. For example, national governments are active in fostering electrification and decarbonisation of vehicles, as well as in permitting experiments with new forms of mobility, for which start-ups have raised significant amounts of money. By the same token, OEMs appear keen to become “mobility providers.” As a result, it is possible we will see the rapid emergence of new eco-systems built around connected, electric, shared and autonomous vehicles, data driven mobilities, and the smart management of renewable and fossil-fuel energy.
To what extent did the COVID-19 crisis influence the transition towards new automotive eco-systems and new mobilities? Will countries still be able to provide the required infrastructure for connected and rechargeable vehicles, despite the heavy economic and financial crisis? How will the role of private actors change, following the pandemic? Will business models designed before the crisis still be viable?
Will new mobility solutions be required to be accessible for both consumers and workers? What is the relation between the ecological transition of the industry and mobility patterns? Did the risks generated by the pandemic cause a shift between public and private mobility solutions, and to what extent? What was the impact of the crisis on platforms such as Uber or Deliveroo both in terms of business models and employment patterns? Are there alternatives to privately-owned digital platforms, such as cooperatives and non-profit organisations, that could promote sustainable types  mobility, able to respond to the challenges imposed by the crisis?
Are emerging countries in the position of leap-frogging existing automotive players and value chains, in this regard? In particular, China through its ambitious programme Made in China 2025 aims to become the front-runner in electric vehicles. Did this type of initiative respond better to the crisis, compared to paths followed in the developed economies? Do we see convergent or divergent patterns? What type of policies, institutions and state actors shaped these strategies and transformations?
What is the role of global finance in promoting/organising this new eco-system? What are the tools used by institutional investors to create and capture value? Is a financially driven transformation of mobility and transport systems sustainable? Does the financialisation of OEMs and global suppliers reinforce or weaken their capacity of dealing with these evolutions?
We welcome papers that explore these questions, as well as papers that look at what is happening at the city, regional and national levels, in terms of new services, experiments and technologies being tested or deployed, and in terms of strategies to overcome the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 global crisis. 

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