Insights Into Emobility -How Introduction of Electric Trucks May Affect Incumbent Truck Manufacturers’ Business Models

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Management and economics of innovation (MPMEI), MSc
Johansson, Anders
Diedrichs, Tom
Driven by visions of reduced greenhouse gas pollution, the automotive industry undergoes a transformation towards environmentally friendlier vehicles. Emobility (here defined as electric drivelines powered with batteries) is one alternative whereupon the technology now has spread from passenger cars into the truck industry. Previous research in emobility lack insights in what impact electrification might have on incumbent truck manufacturers respectively if and how a commercialization is restricted by current arrangements. This thesis addresses that gap by investigating what affect emobility might have on incumbent truck manufacturers’ business model and the potential need of adaptation to enable customers’ adoption of the technology. Due to technological maturity, the scope is delimited to focus on the smallest types of trucks and the applications of refuse collection and city distribution. Naturally, emobility bring changes to incumbent business models. However, this study conclude that these changes primarily takes place upwards the value chain where the size of business model impact depend on certain strategic decisions that truck manufacturers make. Such strategic decisions e.g. include engagement in battery production or providing charging infrastructure. With new investments or acquisitions, truck manufacturers could start to develop and produce their own batteries, which would drastically affect their business model. However, most truck manufacturers purchase their batteries from suppliers or partners, hence only creating a large exposure and dependency to new suppliers. Additionally, insights from interviews indicate that incumbent truck manufacturers rely on external actors or partners to build, install and maintain a fast charging infrastructure, which create more dependency for these companies. Simultaneously, interviews with refuse truck operators indicate that they prefer greater range and night charging, hence making this initial niche market independent from a fast charging network the strategic decision of providing charging infrastructure of less relevance. Downwards the value chain and towards customers, changes are found to be only minor. Instead, new internal competence regarding electric engines and batteries will be needed as today’s core competences, especially regarding combustion powertrains, become obsolete and truck manufacturers transcend to electric powertrains. A growing importance from digital services is expected, which could work as an antidote to lost aftermarket revenue since the electric powertrain create a reduced need of service and maintenance. After analyzing the empirical findings, this study concludes that the existing business model is sufficient for commercializing electric refuse trucks, however with some dependency from political incentives and with truck manufacturers focusing on the total cost of ownership for their customers.
Övrig industriell teknik och ekonomi , Other industrial engineering and economics
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