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Title: The role of business model innovation in transitioning ULEVs to market
Author: Harper, Gavin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 5935
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores whether ‘business model innovation’ could hold the key to advancing the ultra-low and zero carbon vehicle industry in the United Kingdom. This thesis presents a critical comparison of two case studies drawn from qualitative research conducted with a broad cross-section of UK vehicle manufacturers (VMs) that are interested in introducing zero carbon vehicles to the marketplace. The two cases, looking at large established producers of vehicles with trans-national presence (herein termed TNC/MNC VMs) and smaller producers (herein termed SME VMs). The two cases consist of a number of grouped embedded cases focusing on the activities of vehicle producers that are in the process of introducing Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) to the UK marketplace. These cases are constructed and informed by both primary research, semi-structured interviews conducted with representatives of these VMs, secondary analysis of interviews conducted with VM representatives and industry commentators and documentary analysis of contemporary sources and industry commentary. The thesis is framed within a broader academic debate regarding the nature of achieving socio-technical transitions. Within this frame of reference, particular attention is paid to the role of large incumbents vs. new start-up insurgents in bringing innovative technologies to the marketplace; innovative technologies being seen as a key component of a transition to a more sustainable world. In comparing the business models of large, well-established vehicle manufacturers, with smaller, newer, SME providers the ontology of Business Models developed by Osterwalder & Pigneur (2002) is used to interrogate, analyse and make comparisons between the business models of a range of companies that are very dissimilar in nature. Context is crucial to understanding the detail of case studies; as such, the thesis is also informed by the perspectives, gained through interviews, of a number of industry commentators, representatives of government organisations and automotive trade bodies. ~ xxviii ~ This thesis set out to explore a number of research themes and the contributions to knowledge that this thesis has made are: Establishing a theoretical linkage between Geels (2006) multi-level perspective of transitions literature and Osterwalder & Pigneur’s (2002) business model ontology. By bringing these two powerful tools together, it is proposed that a complimentary analysis of the business model on the micro level, embedded within an overall socio-technical transition at the macro level can be made. Furthermore, through an empirical analysis of business models in the car industry, a range of business model components, new directions for business models and “complementary” ancillary business models that support the introduction of ULEVs has been identified. Disappointingly, whilst some observation are made about the early stages of transitions, the slow uptake of ULEVs in the marketplace has shown that the incumbent regime is still reistant to transition – and no concrete transition mechanisms can be identified. There are however a collection of observations about the early stages of socio-technical transitions. The thesis also contributes to the ongoing debate about the tensions between incumbent and insurgent business contributing to the ongoing characterisation of the competitive forces that exist between them. Another important contribution to the business models literature, is a discussion of the role of product, process and business model design. Very recent work by Meertens, Starreveld, Iacob, & Nieuwenhuis (2013) has also explored this issue, however, this work takes a different perspective informed by the empirical data within the case studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HE Transportation and Communications