Business Models for Sustainable Technologies: Exploring Business Model Evolution in the Case of Electric Vehicles

46 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2013

See all articles by Rene Bohnsack

Rene Bohnsack

University of Amsterdam Business School

Jonatan Pinkse

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Date Written: November 14, 2013

Abstract

Sustainable technologies challenge prevailing business practices, especially in industries that depend heavily on the use of fossil fuels. Firms are therefore in need of business models that transform the specific characteristics of sustainable technologies into new ways to create economic value and overcome the barriers that stand in the way of their market penetration. A key issue is the respective impact of incumbent and entrepreneurial firms’ path-dependent behaviour on the development of such new business models. Embedded in the literature on business models, this paper explores how incumbent and entrepreneurial firms’ path dependencies have affected the evolution of business models for electric vehicles. Based on a qualitative analysis of electric vehicle projects of key industry players over a five-year period (2006-2010), the paper identifies four business model archetypes and traces their evolution over time. Findings suggest that incumbent and entrepreneurial firms approach business model innovation in distinctive ways. Business model evolution shows a series of incremental changes that introduce service-based components, which were initially developed by entrepreneurial firms, to the product. Over time there seems to be some convergence in the business models of incumbents and entrepreneurs in the direction of delivering economy multi-purpose vehicles.

Keywords: sustainable technology, business models, evolution, path dependencies, electric vehicles

JEL Classification: D21, G38, H32, L21, L62, M13, M14, O14, O31, O32, O38

Suggested Citation

Bohnsack, Rene and Pinkse, Jonatan and Kolk, Ans, Business Models for Sustainable Technologies: Exploring Business Model Evolution in the Case of Electric Vehicles (November 14, 2013). Research Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2354515

Rene Bohnsack

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
Amsterdam, 1018WB
Netherlands

Jonatan Pinkse

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.anskolk.eu

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
218
Abstract Views
1,211
rank
142,130
PlumX Metrics