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Spontaneous emergence versus technology management in sustainable mobility transitions: Electric bicycles in China

Wells, Peter and Lin, Xiao 2015. Spontaneous emergence versus technology management in sustainable mobility transitions: Electric bicycles in China. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 78 , pp. 371-383. 10.1016/j.tra.2015.05.022

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This paper describes and seeks to understand the scale of the electric bicycle (electric two-wheeler) market in China, and to begin to explain its emergence with a view to outlining the prospects for learning from this case for applications in other countries around the world. Drawing on secondary data from Chinese government sources, electric bicycle industry websites, Chinese media sites and other sources, this exploratory paper positions the development of the electric bicycle market as occurring largely in the absence of positive policy intervention – in stark contrast to the nurturing afforded the electric car sector world-wide. The paper develops a multi-scalar perspective of transitions theory in an institutional setting, with examples drawn from Beijing and Fuzhou, to explain the processes of change outside of the traditional reference context of technology policy and management. It is concluded that transitions theory has a greater flexibility and adaptability as an explanatory framework than previously shown, but empirically the electric two-wheeler is a weakly-embedded alternative to mainstream automobility.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electric bicycles; China; Beijing; Socio-technical change; Transport policy; New energy vehicles
Additional Information: Available online 23 June 2015
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0965-8564
Date of Acceptance: 27 May 2015
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 17:28

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