The legacy of Gustave Trouvé: launching eMobility in a modern world

More than 125 years after Gustave Trouvé presented his three-wheeled electric vehicle at the International Exhibition of Electricity in Paris, electric vehicles (EVs) is still only a small niche in the passenger car market today.

But the political, social and competitive pressures on the world automobile industry to reduce urban pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation system have never been more intense.

The German Government has set a goal for itself to put one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020. Major investments in EVs have already started in the US as a result of California’s Zero Emissions Mandate in the 1990s. The Chinese Government recently announced plans to turn its country into one of the leading producers of EVs within three years.

It seems more likely than ever that eMobility will finally make its diffusion into the mass market within the next decade. However, from the user’s perspective, EVs have many disadvantages, in particular, the lack of a recharging infrastructure.

"New products like the electric vehicle rarely sell themselves and, equally rarely, do all potential customers readily embrace a new product straight away."

New products like EVs rarely sell themselves and, equally rarely, do all potential customers readily embrace a new product straight away. In addition to supportive government policies, skilful marketing is needed for the product to be accepted at all levels of the market.

We asked how should marketers of EVs position their products in the market to make the technology a success.

• Who will likely be early adopters and what will be the best value proposition to attract those target segments?

• How should the four elements of the marketing mix – product, price, place and promotion – be utilized in an effective marketing strategy?

This paper outlines a multiphase strategy for the marketing of EVs based on a discussion of EV characteristics, consumer needs and their adoption behavior, as well as other market forces. It also discusses some important differences in an effective launch in the European market compared with the US and Chinese markets.

The complete article was written by:

  • Tobias Fleischer, Madhusudhan Goru, Ali Gulsen,
    Julia Herbst, Jennifer Pflasterer, Maria Sotirova
    MBA students of GISMA Business School, Germany
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schön
    Chair Operations Management, GISMA Business School, Germany
  • Anne-Kathrin Beermann
    Manager in the Advisory Practice, Ernst & Young, Germany
  • Dr. Marcel Hattendorf
    Senior manager in the Advisory Practice, Ernst & Young, Germany
  • Jörg Hönemann
    Partner and Automotive Advisory Coordinator, Ernst & Young, Germany

Download the full article pdf (pdf, 900 kb)

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