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The car industry and the blow-out of the hydrogen hype


  • Sjoerd Bakker



The hydrogen hype of the last decade has passed and it is now seemingly substituted by the electric vehicle hype. A technological hype can have both positive as well as negative consequences. On the one hand it attracts sponsors for technology development but on the other hand the high expectations might result in disappointment and subsequent withdrawal of the sponsors. In this paper I ask the question to what extent the car industry has created the hype and how it has done so. The industry’s role is studied through their prototyping activities and accompanying statements on market entry. I conclude that the car industry has indeed inflated the hype, especially through its public statements on market release after the turn of the millennium. Furthermore, the industry has shown a double repertoire of both highly optimistic and more modest statements. From this I take that statements are used deliberately to serve the industry’s interests whenever needed. Without neglecting the positive outcomes of hype, public and private funding for R&D efforts, more modest promises could serve the development of sustainable mobility better.

Suggested Citation

  • Sjoerd Bakker, 2009. "The car industry and the blow-out of the hydrogen hype," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 09-14, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Oct 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0914

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romm, Joseph, 2006. "The car and fuel of the future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 2609-2614, November.
    2. Vanessa OLTRA (E3i-IFReDE-GRES) & Maïder SAINT-JEAN (E3i-IFReDE-GRES), 2006. "Variety of technological trajectories in low emission vehicles (LEVs): a patent data analysis," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2006-20, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
    3. Pilkington, Alan & Dyerson, Romano & Tissier, Omid, 2002. "The electric vehicle:: Patent data as indicators of technological development," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 5-12, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bento, Nuno, 2010. "Is carbon lock-in blocking investments in the hydrogen economy? A survey of actors' strategies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7189-7199, November.

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    Fuel cells; hydrogen; hype; automotive industry; electric vehicles;

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