Exploring policies for the transition towards electric vehicles

In order to meet the target of 450 ppm CO2-equivalent by 2050, a minimum of 50% energy-related GHG emission reduction needs to be achieved globally. The transport of passengers and goods, mainly dominated by road vehicles, is responsible for 26% of global energy-related GHG emissions (IEA, 2010). A reduction of its emissions by 95% will be necessary to compensate for other sectors where it is harder to reduce emissions, such as aviation and heavy industry (DECC, 2010).  One way, is the electri?cation of the transport sector. However, the electri?cation the current transport system relies on a range of vehicle technologies such as plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEV), which depend on the availability of manufacturing capabilities and refuelling/recharging infrastructures.


The challenge is to initiate and drive forward major structural changes to the current road passenger transport system, the related industries, as well as to the society: its needs, expectations and behaviours.

The whole transition process towards electric mobility will be a result of interactions between di?erent groups of customers, industries and policy makers, as well as technologies. Hence, this project investigates the transition of a socio-technical system, which is complex and characterised by the presence of interrelations, feedback loops and path dependencies between technologies as well as between various stakeholders.

To explore this complex socio-technical system, methods from both transition science and modelling techniques are applied to characterise and to formalize the system. The approach employed allows the simulation, exploration and evaluation of di?erent transition scenarios. This will provide detailed insights into the interactions between di?erent and similar stakeholders and new vehicle technologies. In particular this incorporates synergies, spill overs and economies of scale, but also competition.

As a result, recommendations for policy makers and industry on how to manage the transition towards electri?ed road transport in an e?icient way are derived. Moreover, the implications of policy measures and ?nancial support can be evaluated based on the model results, particularly when looking for possible unintended negative e?ects such as lock-in to sub-optimal technologies.


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