Contextual requirements for electric vehicles in developed and developing countries: The example of China
Purpose - Electric vehicles are very topical in developed countries. The breakthrough of new battery technologies and changing conditions driven by climate policy and growing fossil fuel prices has caused all major car manufacturing countries in the developed world to initiate R&D programmes to gain competitive advantage and to foster market diffusion of electric vehicles (EVs). This chapter looks at developments in China and compares them with observations from developed countries to draw conclusions about differences in their future paths of development. Methodology - This chapter escribes the potentials and R&D approaches for different types of EVs in developing countries, using China as example, in comparison with developed countries. It looks at innovation strategies, policy framework and potential diffusion of EVs. Findings - Market diffusion strategies in developed countries and China may differ, since, in the former manufacturers try to implement a premium strategy (i.e. offer high-price sophisticated EVs), while in the latter market, diffusion will probably appear at the lower end of vehicle types, i.e. via electric scooters and small urban vehicles. It is concluded that the market introduction strategies of EVs in developing countries and developed countries could converge because signs of downsizing of vehicles can be observed in the developed world, while upscaling from bikes and electric scooters can be expected for China, so that large-scale market introduction could occur via small city cars. Implications for China - Instead of following the Western motorisation path, an option for China could be to develop a new one-stop-shop mobility concept integrating small EVs into such a concept.