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Who will win the electric vehicle race? The role of place-based assets and policy

Author

Listed:
  • Clara Turner

    (University of California Berkeley, USA)

  • Marco R Di Tommaso
  • Chiara Pollio

    (University of Ferrara, Italy)

  • Karen Chapple

Abstract

Regional economies are shaped by their economic histories and existing endowments. This paper explores the question: how do a region’s economic history and institutional endowments affect its success and trajectory in an emerging industry? Our case, electric vehicle development and production, is an industry which combines more traditional skilled manufacturing with knowledge-driven innovation activities. We present deep qualitative case studies of two regions, focusing on one firm in each. The case of Tesla in the San Francisco Bay Area examines an electric vehicle firm in a region with a strong tech innovation system, while the case of Maserati in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, examines a firm that builds on a regional history of automotive manufacturing. Across cases, we compare regional skill endowments, institutional coordination, and place-based policymaking. We conclude that, as an emerging industry under a new economic paradigm, electric vehicle manufacturing by Tesla and Maserati represents two different conceptions of the industry and consequently two different location strategies. Yet these two strategies remain rooted in regional contexts, owing both their success to successful exploitations of these, and their struggles to their failure to compensate for regional gaps. This presents a clear opportunity for place-based industrial strategy to evolve and intervene.

Suggested Citation

  • Clara Turner & Marco R Di Tommaso & Chiara Pollio & Karen Chapple, 2020. "Who will win the electric vehicle race? The role of place-based assets and policy," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 35(4), pages 337-362, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:loceco:v:35:y:2020:i:4:p:337-362
    DOI: 10.1177/0269094220956826
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    File URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269094220956826
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    References listed on IDEAS

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