Panel Paper: Social-Technical Transition in American Cities: A Study of Transportation Electrification

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 3, Room 212 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Derek Ehrnschwender1, Saba Siddiki2, Sanya Carley1 and Sean C. Nicholson-Crotty1, (1)Indiana University, (2)Syracuse University

Electrification of the transportation sector is viewed as one way for governments to realize their commitment to transition away from the internal combustion engine. Scholars have studied this shift through the socio-technical transitions framework, which considers the evolution of an innovative technology as reliant on coordination among actors and policies from different levels of government. Informed by recent research on socio-technical transitions, we analyze the state and determinants of plug in electric vehicle (PEV) adoption in eight American cities through semi-structured interviews with PEV stakeholders. We find that the progress of city-level transportation electrification varies considerably across our sample of cities. PEV diffusion depends on stakeholder collaboration to facilitate the co-evolution of policy activity, technology adoption and behavioral adjustments, and infrastructure deployment. We organize our findings into four nexuses of interest: the collaboration of diverse stakeholders; the interaction of city- and state-level activities; collaboration across innovation niches; and the interplay between policy and technology diffusion.