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The future of electric two-wheelers and electric vehicles in China


  • Weinert, Jonathan
  • Ogden, Joan
  • Sperling, Dan
  • Burke, Andrew


The method of force field analysis is used to examine the future technological and market evolution of electric two-wheelers (E2W) in China. The authors identify key forces driving and resisting future E2W market growth, root causes behind these forces, and important insights about the likelihood of a wide shift to larger three- and four-wheel electric vehicles (EV). The authors conclude that the key forces driving E2W market growth are: improvements in E2W and battery technology due to product modularity and modular industry structure, strong local regulatory support in the form of gasoline-powered motorcycle bans and loose enforcement of E2W standards, and deteriorating bus public transit service. The largest forces resisting E2W market growth are strong demand for gasoline-powered motorcycles, bans on E2Ws due to safety concerns in urban areas, and growing support for public transit. The balance of these forces appears to favor E2W market growth. This growth will likely drive vehicle electrification through continued innovation in batteries and motors, the switch from lead-acid to Li-ion batteries in E2Ws, and the development of larger E2Ws and EVs. There are however strong forces resisting vehicle electrification, including battery cost, charging infrastructure, and inherent complications with large battery systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Weinert, Jonathan & Ogden, Joan & Sperling, Dan & Burke, Andrew, 2008. "The future of electric two-wheelers and electric vehicles in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2544-2555, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:7:p:2544-2555

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy J. Sturgeon, 2002. "Modular production networks: a new American model of industrial organization," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 451-496, June.
    2. Steinfeld, Edward S., 2004. "China's Shallow Integration: Networked Production and the New Challenges for Late Industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1971-1987, November.
    3. Jonathan Weinert & Chaktan Ma & Christopher Cherry, 2007. "The transition to electric bikes in China: history and key reasons for rapid growth," Transportation, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 301-318, May.
    4. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:tefoso:v:132:y:2018:i:c:p:255-267 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Doucette, Reed T. & McCulloch, Malcolm D., 2011. "Modeling the CO2 emissions from battery electric vehicles given the power generation mixes of different countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 803-811, February.
    3. Deborah L. Swenson, 2012. "The Influence of Chinese Trade Policy on Automobile Assembly and Parts," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 703-730, December.
    4. repec:eee:enepol:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:382-388 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jordi Perdiguero & Juan Luis Jiménez, 2012. "“Policy options for the promotion of electric vehicles: a review”," IREA Working Papers 201208, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Mar 2012.
    6. Rao, Zhonghao & Wang, Shuangfeng, 2011. "A review of power battery thermal energy management," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(9), pages 4554-4571.
    7. Geoffrey Rose, 2012. "E-bikes and urban transportation: emerging issues and unresolved questions," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 81-96, January.
    8. Walker, Paul D. & Roser, Holger M., 2015. "Energy consumption and cost analysis of hybrid electric powertrain configurations for two wheelers," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 279-287.
    9. repec:eee:rensus:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:290-296 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Xu, X.M. & He, R., 2014. "Review on the heat dissipation performance of battery pack with different structures and operation conditions," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 301-315.
    11. Hao, Han & Geng, Yong & Wang, Hewu & Ouyang, Minggao, 2014. "Regional disparity of urban passenger transport associated GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in China: A review," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 783-793.
    12. Wells, Peter & Lin, Xiao, 2015. "Spontaneous emergence versus technology management in sustainable mobility transitions: Electric bicycles in China," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 371-383.
    13. Mendoza, Joan-Manuel F. & Sanyé-Mengual, Esther & Angrill, Sara & García-Lozano, Raúl & Feijoo, Gumersindo & Josa, Alejandro & Gabarrell, Xavier & Rieradevall, Joan, 2015. "Development of urban solar infrastructure to support low-carbon mobility," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 102-114.
    14. Hwang, Jenn Jiang, 2010. "Sustainable transport strategy for promoting zero-emission electric scooters in Taiwan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 1390-1399, June.

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