Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)

CET Lunch: Electricity, synthetic fuels or hydrogen for trucks in Germany? How manufacturers strategically choose between alternative decarbonization technologies

Welcome to our virtual and physical seminar with Aline Scherrer, PhD candidate at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex.

Red/orange background with profile picture of Aline Scherrer, text saying CET Lunch with Aline Scherrer, PhD, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. CET-logo on earth background in right corner.
Our CET Lunches are hybrid.
Ill: CET/Janne Bjørgan

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Our speaker will attend digitally. Participants can sign up and tune in via stream, or turn up at CET where lunch will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

In this seminar, I present my research on the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) innovation strategies of all large truck manufacturers active in the EU between 2018 and 2021 - a transition phase with a strong political push towards decarbonization and multiple technology alternatives. This research is embedded in my PhD project, which addresses the societally shaped nature of technology competition in transitions. 

Many different types of low- and zero-emission vehicles are currently discussed as potential options to decarbonize the heavy-duty road freight sector, such as battery-electric vehicles (BEV), hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCEV) or vehicles powered by biofuels or synthetic fuels (bio-diesel; bio-CNG/LNG; PtX). In contrast to the passenger and light-duty vehicle sector, a clear technology pathway to transition away from diesel trucks has not yet crystalized for heavy-duty vehicles. This work contributes to answering the question why this is the case by examining different manufacturer strategies and their justifications.

The qualitative analysis incorporates all annual reports, press releases, tweets, newspaper quotes, and LinkedIn posts on ZEV technologies in the studied time frame as well as interviews with each manufacturer. Through a typology of the most and least paradigm challenging manufacturers and their characteristics and perceptions, knowledge on factors slowing down or accelerating a fast transition is created. A particular emphasis is put on the relationships between different actors and technologies to extend research from a focus on individual technologies and actors towards a more systemic understanding.

About the speaker:

Aline Scherrer is a PhD researcher at SPRU at the University of Sussex and a research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe, Germany. She holds an MSc in Sustainable Development from Utrecht University and a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Freiburg, both with a Major in Governance. In her PhD, she addresses the role of actor behaviour in multi-technology situation in sustainability transitions as a potential support or hindrance factor to technology diffusion. She focuses on the case of zero-emission vehicles and the heavy-duty road transport sector in particular.