Dominerende design i praksis: Et studie af elbilens succes og fiasko

Linda Maria Pedersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Today’s increasing environmental focus has led to a new interest in elec-tric vehicles, as this type of vehicle makes it possible for the people of today to keep up their comfortable transportation habits without produc-ing the same amount of propulsion as occurs when driving a gasoline car. The electric motor is no new invention, it originally dates further back than the internal combustion engine, so why is it that this more environ-mentally friendly engine have never dominated as it has no apparent driv-ing flaws? Many have accused the battery and its limited range but this analysis have shown that it would be a mistake to prosecute the battery as a determinant of the success of the electric vehicle both at the time of the invention and today. The analysis based on historical data conducted in this thesis has shown that when the automobile was first launched the victory of the internal combustion engine was due to a superior network. The electric vehicle was launched five years prior to the internal combus-tion engine and therefore had difficulties due to the fact this was the first of the horseless carriages and different components was not yet suitably developed for the purpose of this vehicle ex. the wheels and tires. These problems were apparent to the public causing the electric vehicle an im-age loss, which made it more difficult to establish satisfactory relation-ships with different actors ex. the press. Another great problem for the electric vehicle was its lack of a competent spokesperson and these prob-lems combined caused the electric vehicle to be surrounded by a weak network. As the gasoline engine was launched many of the problems en-countered by the electric vehicle was already eliminated and the internal combustion engine, with Henry Ford as spokesperson, was able to create a strong network by interesting other actors. From 1912 the internal combustion engine dominated but from the 1960’s a multiple of attempts at launching a new electric vehicle was made. In the 1990’s a serious ef-fort was made by The California Air Resource Board in California who by the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate made it mandatory that the car manufactures produced electric cars. The mandate met great resistance and once again it was a battle between the strength of the different net-works, and once more the internal combustion engine claimed victory. The analysis has shown that in order for the electric motor to succeed as the dominant automobile engine it must be in possession of a strong net-work and a competent spokesperson who are able to continually renego-tiate with the different actors, as networks are under constant change.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages92