Skip to main content

EV Business Models in a Wider Context: Balancing Change and Continuity in the Automotive Industry

Part of the Lecture Notes in Mobility book series (LNMOB)


This paper seeks to balance the tendency to analyze EV business models in isolation by setting them in a wider context in which the automotive industry is seeking to reconcile continuity and change in an increasingly volatile and uncertain competitive environment. This paper argues that one reason for the relative lack of penetration of EVs and the relative failure of the organizational innovations that have accompanied them is that there are powerful forces for continuity. It is argued that there are many other aspects of change in the industry that have been neglected by EV protagonists and policy-makers but which, for the industry itself, may be more urgent. Consequently, policy-makers may need to reflect upon the utility of traditional market incentives, research support and regulatory pressure.


  • Electric vehicles
  • Business models
  • State intervention
  • Automotive industry
  • Tesla
  • Autolib

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-12244-1_1
  • Chapter length: 14 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-12244-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)


  1. Roland Berger (2011) Automotive landscape 2025: opportunities and challenges ahead. Accessed 24 Mar 2011

  2. Wells P, Nieuwenhuis P (2012) Transition failure: understanding continuity in the automotive industry. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 79:1681–1692

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  3. Abdelkafi N, Makhotin S, Posselt T (2013) Business model innovations for electric mobility-what can be learned from existing business model patterns? Int J Innov Manag 17(1). doi:10.1142/S136391961340003

  4. Waller B (2011) Developing a new plug-in electric vehicle ecosystem for automotive distribution. Paper presented at the 19th international gerpisa colloquium on ‘Is the second automobile revolution on the way?’ 8th–10th June, Paris, 2011

    Google Scholar 

  5. Kley F, Lerch C, Dallinger D (2011) New business models for electric cars—a holistic approach. Energy Policy 39:3392–3403

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  6. Bock AJ, Opsahl T, George G, Gann DM (2012) The effects of culture and structure on strategic flexibility during business model innovation. J Manag Stud 49(2):279–305

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  7. Lewin T (2004) Smart thinking: the little car that made it big. Motorbooks, London

    Google Scholar 

  8. Winton N (2005) Investors to Mercedes—shut smart or fix it, January 30th 2005. Accessed 15 Sept 2013

  9. Smith A (2006) Daewoo’s U.K. factory stores: different, but not better, automotive news, September 25th 2006. Accessed 15 Sept 2013

  10. Marketing Week (2001) Daewoo’s drive to survive in the UK, August 23rd 2001. Accessed 15 Sept 2013

  11. Godsmark G (1996) Daewoo sells cars … by buying them itself, The independent, August 24th 1996.–by-buying-them-itself-1311228.html. Accessed 15 Sept 2013

  12. Walker S (2013) Financial disasters: the cars that lost a fortune, September 27th 2013. Accessed 8 Oct 2013

  13. Woolley S (2013) Tesla is worse than Solyndra, May 29th 2013. Accessed 4 Oct 2013

  14. Ingram A (2013) French electric car-sharing service Autolib coming to … Indianapolis ?!?, , 11th June 2013. Accessed 11 June 2013

  15. EVWorld (No date) Bolloré to sell bluecar for €12,000, rent battery for €80/Month, Accessed 15 Sept 2013

  16. Davies A (2013) We tried out the French electric car-sharing service that’s on its way to the US, July 22nd 2013. Accessed 15 Sept 2013

  17. Steinhilber S, Wells P, Thankappan S (2013) Socio-technical inertia: understanding the barriers to electric vehicles. Energy Policy. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.04.076

  18. Granovskii M, Dincer I, Rosen MA (2006) Economic and environmental comparison of hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. J Power Sources 159:1186–1193

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  19. Hawkins TR, Singh B, Majeau-Bettez G, Strømman AH (2013) Comparative environmental life cycle assessment of conventional and electric vehicles. J Ind Ecol 17(1):53–64

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  20. Euractiv (2013) MEPs back fuel-efficiency plan for cars, including ‘super-credits’, April 25th 2013. Accessed 18 Sept 2013

  21. ACEA (2013) Long-term CO2 targets must be ambitious and scientifically-founded, not ‘political’, April 23rd 2013. Accessed 20 Sept 2013

  22. Cars21 High Level Group final report on the competitiveness and sustainable growth of the automotive industry in the European Union, 2012. Accessed 20 Sept 2013

  23. Villareal A (2011) The social construction of the market for electric cars in France: politics coming to the aid of economics. Int J Automot Technol Manag 11(4):326–339

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  24. Nair R, Miller-Hooks E, Hampshire RC, Bušić A (2012) Large-scale vehicle sharing systems: analysis of Vélib'. Int J Sustain Transp 7(1):85–106

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  25. Brand C, Anable J, Tran M (2013) Accelerating the transformation to a low carbon passenger transport system: The role of car purchase taxes, feebates, road taxes and scrappage incentives in the UK. Transp Res Part A: Policy Pract 49:132–148

    Google Scholar 

  26. Regulation (EC) No. 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicle, Official J Eur Union, 5.6.2009

    Google Scholar 

  27. See

  28. Harmer C, Cairns S (2011) Carplus annual survey of car clubs, transport research laboratory (TRL). Published Project Report PPR567. http://www.carplusorguk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Carplus-Annual-Survey-of-Car-Club-Members-201011-Finalpdf

  29. Truffer B (2003) User-led innovation processes: the development of professional car sharing by environmentally concerned citizens. Innovation 16(2):139–154

    Google Scholar 

  30. Glotz-Richter M (2008) CarSharing as part of transport integration concepts: experience of the Bremen mobil.punkt. Public Transp Int 57(2):30–32

    Google Scholar 

  31. Cerfontaine C (2011) Combined mobility: or offering citizens the possibility to live in city without owning a car. Public Transp Int 60(2):28–30

    Google Scholar 

  32. Bieszczat A, Schwieterman J (2012) My car, your car ···: more and more people are driving a communal automobile. Planning 78(5):37–40

    Google Scholar 

  33. Firnkorn J, Müller M (2012) Selling mobility instead of cars: new business strategies of automakers and the impact on private vehicle holding. Bus Strategy Environ 21(4):264–280

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  34. Cepolina EM, Farina A (2012) A new shared vehicle system for urban areas. Transp Res Part C: Emerg Technol 21(1):230–243

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter Wells .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Wells, P., Nieuwenhuis, P. (2015). EV Business Models in a Wider Context: Balancing Change and Continuity in the Automotive Industry. In: Beeton, D., Meyer, G. (eds) Electric Vehicle Business Models. Lecture Notes in Mobility. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-12243-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-12244-1

  • eBook Packages: EnergyEnergy (R0)