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Title: Essays on consumer choice for electric vehicles and potential adoption of autonomous vehicles in China
Author: Huang, Youlin
ISNI:       0000 0001 2441 9912
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2020
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To address global sustainability challenges such as air pollution and energy shortage, massive attention has been paid to the research and development of low-carbon innovations. Electric vehicles (EVs), powered by electricity, are one of the most promising low-carbon innovations for helping reduce carbon emission and achieve sustainable developmental goals. EVs are also more likely to achieve partial or full autonomous driving in near future. Drawing on multi-level perspective (MLP), which views sustainable transition as a non-linear process, this thesis presents four empirical studies to examine the adoption and diffusion of EV, as well as the adoption of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in China. These four studies (i.e. Working Paper 1~4) were conducted from 2017 to 2019 by collecting three waves of stated preference (SP) experiment and surveys from a group of nationwide households in China. Specifically, Working Paper 1 studies the effect of generation and city in the EV transition. Inspired by findings of Working Paper 1, Working Paper 2 examines consumer preferences for adopting EVs in innovative business models, which addresses consumers’ concerns related to technology immaturity of EVs that Working Paper 1 identifies. As an extension of Working Paper 1, Working Paper 3 integrates the three waves of SP data to examine the dynamic consume preferences for EVs over time. The last working paper explores antecedents and mechanism of potential adoption of AV, as another pathway of future diffusion of EV and a future direction of automobility. Overall, this thesis identifies not only critical monetary, service and policy attributes that influence consumer preferences for EVs, but also the dynamic consumer preferences for EVs and a range of EV attributes over time, as well as the mechanism behind consumers’ potential adoption of AV. Specifically, the analyses unveil that (1) the young generation is not more inclined to adopt EV than the old generation as expected, but consumers in small cities show stronger preferences for EVs and such preferences are even growing over time; (2) battery-leasing business model is perceived as a substitute of EV-buying business model, while EV-leasing and EV-sharing business models are perceived independent; (3) individuals’ reasoning process affects their attitude and adoption intentions towards AVs, and two psychological traits (i.e., need for uniqueness and risk aversion) are antecedents to consumers’ reasoning process. Therefore, this thesis contributes to sustainable transition literature by empirically analysing the dynamic consumer preferences for sustainable innovations along with market development in the MLP. This research is also one of the first studies to quantitatively analyse the role of business models in influencing consumers’ adoption for sustainable innovations, and to analyse the effect of psychological traits on adopting AVs. This research offers policy and business implications for driving EV transition by contextualising public policies and marketing strategies, promoting collaborations among automakers, governments and service providers, communicating relevant policies, implementing alternative business models for EV adoption, and providing more experiential opportunities of EVs and AVs to potential adopters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral