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Electric Drive Evolution Lab International (EDELI)

Background

In recent years, electric vehicle technology has progressed from the experimental stage to a breakthrough innovation that has since also successfully weathered the proof-of-concept phase. In the current circumstances, it is possible to achieve a high level of acceptance of this technology by consumers as the situation in Norway illustrates, where eMobility products of various manufacturers already represent one in three of all newly registered vehicles. Although manufacturers of conventional vehicles protest that the provision of government subsidies has resulted in the artificial inflation of the corresponding figures, the statistics do demonstrate that consumers will prefer eMobility options if these are no more expensive than standard vehicles Just as in the case of many breakthrough technologies, prices will inevitably fall in future while performance will be enhanced through learning and scaling effects; this means that all that is required to ensure rapid proliferation of eMobility is creation of the right environment. However, the resistance being exhibited by those who support the conventional technologies together with the sceptical attitude being displayed by many vehicle-related groups represent hurdles to the introduction of the corresponding measures, particularly at the political level.

Objective

The purpose of EDELI is to promote the use of eMobility. Its tasks are to conduct theoretical research into electromobility with a view to improving consumer acceptance and to develop the corresponding policy strategies. Its findings are to be made publicly available with the aim of ensuring the more extensive use of the pioneering technology as a contribution to strategies for the preservation of the environment. The research being undertaken by EDELI does not focus on the development of the innovative technology itself but rather on the design of methods that will make consumers perceive the developments in a positive light and will persuade political decision-makers to back implementation of the technology. EDELI is thus one of the few research groups that is exclusively hoping to promote the eMobility concept by using an appropriate marketing (consumer- and policy-orientated marketing) approach. The focus of the Lab is international both with regard to empirical research and collaboration with research institutes abroad. This international approach is desirable in view of the worldwide relevance of eMobility (although proliferation rates differ from country to country), the opportunity to employ transnational power grids and the need to ensure the international standardisation of charging technologies.

Institutional Basis and Personnel

There is shared running of the Lab by members of various institutes:

• University of St. Gallen: Institute for Customer Insight (Prof. Torsten Tomczak)

• University of St. Gallen: Institute for Economy and the Environment (Prof. Rolf Wüstenhagen, Prof. Stefanie Lena Hille)

The director of the Lab is Prof. Dr. Theo Lieven (ICI-HSG).

Depending on the progress of projects, posts for doctoral candidates and post docs may be provided.

Research Topics

State measures for promoting electromobility

• Standardisation of charging technology

• Potential risks (particularly to pedestrians) arising due to lack of noise emission

• Options for the connection of electric vehicles to an intelligent charging grid

• Options for introducing eMobility in the commercial sector (taxis, parcel services, buses)

• Options for introducing eMobility in the bike and motor scooter sector (e.g. analysis of customer preferences with regard to the features of e-bikes and e-scooters; analysis of the attitudes to state subsidies, identification of potential target groups etc.)

• Forms of intervention (e.g. field testing of acceptance of and willingness to purchase electric vehicles)

• Forms of new sales concepts (e.g. battery leasing/rental) that will help overcome possible sales resistance factors, such as high purchase price or concerns with regard to premature battery failure

• Forms of innovative special offers (e.g. all-round worry-free packages that provide for the provision of a replacement vehicle while on holiday) to offset concerns of potential e-vehicle users that the usage range of their vehicle might be restricted

• Options for using a fleet share concept for electric vehicles (e.g. analysis of willingness to lease an electric vehicle rather than a conventional car; analysis of the effect of incentives to encourage users to return them to the charging station, etc.)

• Forms of information and communication techniques that can be used to enhance consumer acceptance (e.g. options for reserving changing stations in advance)

Study of the acceptance of electric vehicles in Germany

Study of state measures designed to promote eMobility in 20 countries

Porsche invests one billion euros in electric vehicle production plant

Contact Person

Titular Professor of Marketing and Director of the Electric Drive Evolution Lab International
E-Mail: theo.lieven@unisg.ch
Telefon: +41 (0)71 224 7217

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