Will the electric car bring sustainable mobility

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Christophe MIDLER

Director, Centre de Recherche en Gestion (Management Research Centre), École Polytechnique, In charge of the Master's programme 'Project, Innovation and Design'

Seminar Management of Innovation | Wednesday February 17, 2010 - 8h45 - 10h45

The electric car is not a new technological innovation : it has been around for a century. Every ten years or so, attempts are made to alter the design which hitherto have not made any impact on the so-called 'dominant design' of 'traditional' vehicles, ie. those which use internal combustion engines. Recent attempts, however, are proving to be more successful. According to Christophe Midler, success will not be because of a technological breakthrough (despite significant progress in batteries), but because of a completely new way of managing innovation. The design of an electric car involves the entire vehicle rather than just electrifying a 'normal' vehicle. It is part of a global project to improve mobility by the use of electrical devices, where additional, proposed services play a dominant role. The project makes sure that the economic models of the different bodies concerned (manufacturers, national and local authorities, energy engineers, and transport service operators) are presented. Finally, the design incorporates the process of innovation adoption involving 'early adopters' who have important impact on customers' learning and 'latecomers'' buying decisions.

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