The start of a Second Automobile Revolution Corporate strategies and public policies

Michel Freyssenet

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Abstract :
International audience
The paper compares the current automobile scenario with the debut of the automobile to understand whether the development of cleaner cars could trigger the start of a “Second Automobile Revolution”. Four conditions led to the appearance and widespread adoption of the oil car: the crisis of the previous transport system; the development of various technical solutions, thanks to innovations coming from other sectors; the formation of a coalition of actors to implement one of those solutions despite its great uncertainties; and the macro-economic decisions and public policies that ensured the generalization of the adopted solution. Today, the first and second conditions appear to exist in that, it being no longer physically or economically viable to continue the oil car motorization of the large emerging countries, various alternative cars have been designed. At present, we are observing the creation of actors’ coalitions to support the various solutions, although commercial, geopolitical and economical reasons could lead to the preponderance of the electric car, making it the car of a “Second Automobile Revolution”. That would completely change the architecture, the industry, the geography, the economy, the geopolitics, and the sociology of the automobile.
Published : 2011-12
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)


Michel Freyssenet, « The start of a Second Automobile Revolution Corporate strategies and public policies », ERIEP, 2011-12. URL :