Low Carbon Innovation in Chinese Urban Mobility: Prospects, Politics and Practices

Working Paper
  • Published 28/01/15
  • ISBN: 978-1-78118-199-7

STEPS Working Paper 71
David Tyfield, Dennis Zuev, Ping Li and John Urry
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China represents a test-case of global significance regarding the challenges of urban mobility transition to more sustainable models. The country not only suffers the effects of air pollution, urban gridlock and more, but also is the site of significant government and corporate innovation efforts focused on the development of electric vehicles (EVs). At the same time, the lower-technology electric two-wheeler (E2W) has emerged as a global market entirely dominated by small Chinese firms and their Chinese customers. This report explores the relevant literature around urban electric mobility transitions in China and describes the project’s research approach, arguing that, despite the disappointment to date regarding EVs, the evidence shows a highly dynamic and geographically diverse situation in China, yet one in which a successful urban mobility transition as currently envisaged remains improbable.

This is the third of a series of 4 reports from the STEPS affiliate project Low Carbon Innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practice.