Leadership, Innovation and Adoption
Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri
Chapter 6: Vancouver’s fuel cell cluster: new opportunities or a genteel decline?
This chapter investigates the unique development of Vancouver’s fuel cell cluster, going back to the early 1980s. At that time, important national research and development programmes were launched and local pioneering firms acted as technology change agents. Vancouver developed a leadership position due to favourable living conditions and the importance attached worldwide to fuel cell technology and hydrogen, including considerable funding from the Canadian government and European car manufacturers. However, two conditions started to weaken the pre-commercial cluster, namely, competition from battery-electrical and hybrid vehicles, and a lack of fuelling infrastructure. Once support by the national government dwindled, the Vancouver cluster seemed not able to grow independently and reach maturity. Thus, the attractiveness of local conditions could not overcome basic competition between and among technologies. However, while the cluster is shrinking, car manufacturers are still investing and releasing prototypes, and new local initiatives building on existing leading edge technology are also being undertaken.
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