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Historical Case Studies of Energy Technology Innovation
CASE STUDY 9: HYBRID CARS.
HYBRID CARS: DEVELOPMENT & DEPLOYMENT IN JAPAN, THE US, AND CHINA.
Kelly Sims Gallagher
Many governments are interested in promoting hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and other alternatives to
conventional internal combustion engines because of concerns about energy security, oil dependence,
air pollution, and global climate change. HEVs achieve greater fuel efficiency than conventional vehicles,
although the extent of improvement in efficiency depends greatly on the specific configuration of the
The development of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) in three major markets ‐ Japan, the United States,
and China ‐ was characterized by similar drivers of innovation. However, policy mechanisms and
incentives for deployment diverged significantly. In all three countries, governments originally pushed
harder for alternative automotive technologies other than hybrids, such as pure electric vehicles or
hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In some cases, private firms made research and development (R&D) choices
that do not appear to have been strongly influenced by public policy but rather followed a commercial
logic in exploring fuel efficient technologies. In other cases, government policies appear to actually have
turned firms away from HEVs. Once HEVs emerged in the marketplace, however, the government
response was completely different in each of the three countries, especially in terms of the extent to
which each government was prepared to support their transition through the early deployment phase to
facilitate widespread market diffusion.
If referencing this chapter, please cite:
Gallagher, K.S. (2012). Hybrid Cars: Development & Deployment in Japan, the US, and China. Historical Case ...