This task provided recommendations on government programmes to introduce clean vehicle technologies and clean fuels in the market. Between 2000 and 2002 a task force, a joint effort of the Advanced Motor Fuels and Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreements, collected information on 95 programmes in 18 countries.
From this wide range of government programmes, case studies were selected which were regarded as “typical” strategies of government administrations and stakeholders. The analysis of these programmes and measures showed that some approaches are successful, but they also identified weaknesses which are often repeated. This points out to a low level of learning, either from the successes or from the failures. The analysis from this project can be used as a tool to complete a general picture of “clean vehicle” market introduction strategies. It aims to help government officials responsible for administering fleets, incentives, and regulations with assessing the most promising strategy for their country for the market introduction of hybrid, electric, and alternatively fuelled vehicles.
Governments are not the only stakeholders, but they play the key role not only by actively implementing promotion measures but also by being responsible for the framework in which a market for alternatively fuelled vehicles must succeed. During the task-force work, our thoughts and discussions considered the role of government as stakeholders in the “transport market”.
First of all, it became clear that it is less important whether government authorities act on the national or local level. It is more important to know and assess the powers, authority, and responsibilities of a government at a given level (which differ from country to country) and to make full use of these powers. We found good examples (ZEV-mandate in California at the state level) and less good examples of making the most of the legal powers (for example, many national governments favour voluntary agreements with stakeholders like the car industry which often do not show the results striven for). Secondly, according to the stages leading to the market introduction of alternatively fuelled vehicles, from research to marketable “products”, the role of the government as a stakeholder differs and is perceived differently by the governments themselves. In addition, governments find themselves among a whole lot of other interest groups. Research organizations, for example, do not naturally work on fields preferred by the governments. Government support for research therefore acts as a certain and necessary steering mechanism. Pilot-projects are a typical government action to assess the chances and possibilities of the research product (prototype). In the case of demonstration projects governments already tend to look for co-operation and networks as now the product has to prove its usability for everyday use. The government support of deployment has the objective to bridge the period of market introduction in which the purchase prices of the products are too high to compete with the products already on the market. These activities known as “support” or “promotion” efforts, are supplemented but not necessarily connected with the implementation of technical standards and regulations. Nevertheless, the legal framework can provide a favouring framework, or, on the contrary, be one of the barriers for a successful market deployment.