Public policies for Electric Vehicles (EV): Categories, Rationality and Instruments

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2017)


Electric Vehicle, innovation policy, tipology


The automobile industry across the world is undergoing structural changes (Jullien &Pardi, 2013). Advances in emission regulations and the effects of oil price fluctuations are forcing carmakers towards new product designs that use innovative technologies in order to increase the energy efficiency of vehicles and decrease environment impacts (Freyssenet, 2011). Among the technological paths for the automotive industry within this context, the electric vehicles (EVs) are highlighted as alternative technologies to internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs).However, this transition pathway is taking place slowly, gradually and unevenly among countries with consolidated automotive markets and industries. The components of EVs have experienced technological developments without a predominant path. The lack of scope and refueling infrastructure is another open challenge. From the market side, one of the main reasons for the slow diffusion of EVs is that these vehicles have, in comparison to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle, higher investment cost . In order to increase the attractiveness of electric vehicles (EVs), instruments of public policy and several incentives have been designed and implemented by many countries. Some studies claim that government policies can play an important role in developing the EV market and industry (Lutsey, 2015; Mock e Yang, 2014; Zhou et al., 2015). Germany, China, United States, France, Netherlands, Japan, Norway and Sweden are the leading countries demonstrating expressive results in EV market diffusion and R&D investment at the moment . As policy outcomes, the number of electric vehicles produced and marketed has increased consistently over the past few years. In 2015, 2.5 million EVs were sold around the world (Jerram e Shepard, 2015) , a number that represents a share of 3% of global vehicle sales (OICA, 2016), a representative jump considering that in 2006 the share was 0,6% and in 2009 it was 1.2% (Coutinho; Castro; Ferreira, 2010). Moreover, most of the trusted automotive industry forecasts argues that electric mobility will become established as a result of numerous policies to automobile industry. At this point, a fundamental question arises: What kind of policy mix has the leading countries (Germany, China, United States, France, Netherlands, Japan, Norway and Sweden) adopted to stimulate the growth of the EV Research and Development, industry and market? The present paper explores this question by suggesting a new typology of innovation policy instruments. The new typology categorizes EVs policies in four groups, divided by a rationality criteria: (1)Production; (2) Science and Technology; (3) Infrastructure and (4) Consumption. The focus of selected countries policy mix demonstrates the applicability of this classification. In terms of theoretical contributions, this paper suggests a new typology of innovation policy instruments, particularly by addressing the topic related to the infrastructure for EVs (usually not covered by policies analysis).The methodology is structured in 4 stages: 1) Sample selection: To track the innovation policies over time, the multiple case study was limited to eight countries that have made significant investments in EVs: China, France, Germany, Japan, Norway Netherlands, Sweden and United States. These eight were selected because of their leadership in research and development of technologies for EVs (by means of patent and science metrics analyses).In addition to the R&D indicators, they also present the most expressive market share and EVs production sites . (2) Data collection: Our data consist of two major parts. The first part is the collection of policy documents retrieved from the Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreement (EVI) , at the International Energy Agency (IEA). The main sources of information used in this article include submissions from EVI members, such as policy references, statistics and indicators available. The second part of policy collection includes a systematic literature review (dissertation, thesis and articles) related to policies on green technologies. In addition, we identified documents and webpages of official government agencies related to new propulsion technologies, such as analysis of Green eMotionproject .As a complement, mass media information specialized in the automobile and EVs industries was consulted.(3) Classification of EVs policies: this work is based on the methodology that aims at classifying government policies and instruments found in demand-pull policies , and technology-push policies (Chindamber & Kon, 1993; Waltz et al. 2008; Nemet, 2009).(4) The new typology: the proposed typology is shown in the Fig. 1, where we categorize the mapped innovation policy instruments in four categories: (1) Production, (2) Science and Technology, (3)Infrastructure and (4)Consumption)
Regarding our empirical contribution, this paper explains the rationale behind policy changes. Our major findings are summarized as follows: a) The EV market diffusion demands specific policies; b) Advances in emission regulations are the main driving force to promote EVs; c) Consumer incentives were the most implemented instrument ( monetary and non-monetary spheres). All selected countries executed those instruments; d) The R & D programs targeted to (1) reduce the EV acquisition cost and (2) extend the battery autonomy; e) The integration of EVs to local transportation and energy systems is characterized as an incentive to consumption; f) Production incentives are concentrated in Japan, United States, France and China and correlates closely to the tradition in the automobile industry (except China); g)Some instruments present ambiguous objectives depending on the policy contents (e.g., target production and market). Concerning our theoretical contribution, this article gives a new typology for innovation policy instruments that aims to sustainable mobility (especially regarding electric propelled vehicles)and points out four analysis categories: (1)Production; (2) Science and Technology; (3) Infrastructure (usually not covered by policies analysis) and (4) Consumption.

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