Designing Business Actor Strategies for the electrical Vehicle Market

Designing Business Actor Strategies for the electrical Vehicle Market

An explorative Approach

By Anders Klitmøller, ankl@asb.dk, Morten Rask, mra@asb.dk, Department of Management,
Aarhus School of Business, Haslegårdsvej 10, 8210 Århus V. Denmark;
Anne Flemmert Jensen, afj@dskd.dk, Designskolen Kolding, Ågade 10, 6000 Kolding;
Mia Walde, mwalde@asb.dk, Department of Management, Aarhus School of Business.

Abstract
The study and understanding of the emergent market of electric vehicles holds an interest for companies across the globe as the ability to frame and influence the rules of this potentially global market can lead to large scale success for the firms involved. In general, the main research conducted in the area of consumer understanding in the context of business actor strategies has been quantitative which has given a linear understanding of the hopes and motivations that drive consumer behaviour. The method seems more appropriate for testing existing products than in this case where we seek to explore future perceptions of an innovative concept. This article takes a qualitative approach that seeks to understand the context based and processual aspects of consumer behaviour. By using the case of the etrans Design Collaboration, a three year EU funded project that seeks to make electrical vehicles a commercial success in Denmark, we present five consumer voices derived from an in depth qualitative study. These are positioned using an adoption curve for the introduction of innovative products such as the electric vehicles, and combined with a model for strategic business design in emergent markets. In the case of the emergent market of electrical vehicles, we find that companies that focus on the development and design of tangible products, rather than systems such as infrastructure, will be the first to be adapted into the market of electric vehicles, thereby gaining a strategic and competitive advantage.
Introduction
In the last decade the negative impact of transport on the environment has developed into a generally accepted discourse depicting a growing concern for our environment (Van Wee 2007). Concomitant to this growing concern amongst the public and policy makers, industries are pushed to become more sustainable. With respect to the transport sector, current dominant measures to reduce the demand for car usage have concerned assessments of how to reduce car use rather than reducing the environmental impact per car (Gärling and Steg 2007). As part of the growing awareness on sustainable development, changing the core technologies of cars and the services surrounding them is reflected in the emerging electric vehicle market and appears to hold promise for a more sustainable automobile usage and a profitable market for key stakeholders. A challenge for firms and organisations involved in the emergent market of electric vehicles is to design and align company strategies with the emergent consumer of electric vehicles. The ability to do this does not only hold a promise of a theoretical understanding of how to design organisational strategies to emergent markets, but could also prove to be a competitive advantage for the companies involved in the construction of the electrical vehicle market. This is important since being able to define and implement the rules by which other companies have to abide holds a huge market advantage.
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