New Empirical Methods and Simulation Techniques
Edited by Pier Paolo Saviotti
Chapter 6: Coping Collectively with the Exploration–Exploitation Trade-off in Research Consortia: The Case of Advanced Batteries for Electric Vehicles
1 Philippe Larrue INTRODUCTION In 1990, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) passed very strict environmental laws aimed at reducing air pollution in big cities like Los Angeles. These laws, known as the ZEV mandate, oblige the seven top car manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of zero emission vehicles (ZEV) at various dates (2 per cent in 1998, 5 per cent in 2001, and 10 per cent in 2003). At that time, only pure electric vehicles (EVs) were certiﬁed as ZEV, and batteries were considered as the only EV energy source likely to be available in the time-frame set by the regulation (1998–2003). These laws have triggered, once again, a huge amount of R&D activity towards EVs and their energy sources. From its early beginning at the end of the nineteenth century, the development of the EV has experienced different cycles of infatuation and quasi-abandon. In general, its return to the heart of the economic and public scene derives from non-technical factors like military stakes during the Second World War, environmental stakes relating to urban air quality in the US during the 1960s, the rise of the price of oil and the desire for energy independence during the 1970s, and recently environmental matters once again. On the other hand, its failures are usually said to be due to technical barriers, especially the weakness of the battery. Thus, EVs never reached the internal techno-economic dynamics necessary to survive, and the activity in this domain soon returned to...
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