Page 60 - European Energy Innovation - Winter 2014
P. 60
Winter 2014 European Energy Innovation


ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE which it is today in many places. “innovators” and “early adopters”.
NOT SMART PHONES AND Germany would not have taken
INNOVATORS OR EARLY the lead in developing such a “Innovators” are willing to take
ADOPTERS DO NEED SUPPORT large market and manufacturing risks, have financial liquidity, are
EV’s represent a technology which base. However at certain times social and have close contact
is potentially superior. However support is no longer justified. to scientific sources as well as
replacing a technology which Nuclear energy has failed to interaction with other innovators.
has been optimized for 100 years become the low cost and carefree Their risk tolerance allows them
and which has offered enormous solution for our energy problems to adopt technologies that may
benefits is not something which and therefore it is no longer ultimately fail.
happens overnight. As EV’s are justified to maintain this industry
still too costly and surrounded at taxpayers’ expense. For EV’s “Early adopters” have the highest
by uncertainties, OEM’s will we are still far from being able to degree of opinion leadership
make the transition to EV’s only draw the final conclusion. among the adopter categories.
when they are forced to do so. Early adopters have a higher social
This can be through regular The technology adaption curve status, financial liquidity, advanced
market mechanisms where of Roger Everett shows that education and are more socially
new competitors come in or the market introduction of EV’s forward than late adopters. They
through regulation. Tesla is the is still carried by innovators. are more discreet in adoption
best example where market Current sales are still below 1% choices than innovators.
mechanisms have had some of the total market for passenger
effects. In several countries the cars and, looking further, we “Early majority” adopt an innovation
Tesla Models S has become a see that in most markets only a after a varying degree of time that
successful competitor in the handful of recently introduced is significantly longer than the
luxury car sector. However models represent 80 or 90% of innovators and early adopters.
in other sectors this is not the total EV sales. Growth rates
happening because the battery however are in double digit Authorities have many tools
cost is too large. and higher than almost any new available for the stimulation of
technology. It is often argued EV technology adaptation, be it
In discussing whether it is justified that EV technology has reached with direct stimulation of EV’s or
to provide support to new maturity and as a result does not by defining stricter requirements
technologies from a societal point justify support. This is in sharp for ICE vehicles. Virtually all
of view, several points have to be contrast with the phase we are in technological innovations in
taken into consideration. which is still the very early market the automotive industry start
introduction phase. in the top segment and trickle
It is argued that all major down later. Interestingly electric
technology transitions have been The reality is that 1) the EV as a vehicles have been developed
successful because government product is still in its very early and positioned as small and
intervention and support have product development life cycle expensive cars.
been given. Many examples can and 2) the EV market is also still
be found from the technologies in that early phase when mostly Policies stimulating the
which have been developed by, innovators are buying EV’s. development of EV’s in the
for instance, NASA or ARPA in the In other words, although very expensive car segments, where
US. They have greatly benefitted promising and developing at a battery cost is relatively small
commercial organisations very rapid pace, the EV market as well and incentives could be
and society. Also examples in development is still very fragile lower, could prove an effective
the energy sector show that and truly needs support in order means to promote EV’s. Tesla
transitions only take place when to become successful. has proven that luxury EV’s
governments commit significant have a very high performance
resources and take leadership. A successful development of the and adequate range at a
Nuclear energy would never have, EV market needs government competitive price and create a
and still today will not happen, if leadership and support as well as market buzz which makes the
no government support is given. a coherent approach which aims car highly desirable. In Europe,
Without such support solar and at the people who are most likely the development of a strong
wind energy would never have to buy in the new developments. EV market could become an
become the competitive industry At present those are still the important industry growth. l
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