Inter-niche competition on ice? Socio-technical drivers, benefits and barriers of the electric vehicle transition in Iceland

Xiao Lin, Benjamin K. Sovacool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates the drivers, benefits and barriers of battery electric vehicle (BEV) development and an ongoing BEV transition in Iceland from a sociotechnical perspective. We focus on the following research questions: 1) What are the most promising driving forces behind BEV growth? 2) Why are BEVs restricted mostly to the niche level? 3) What are the possible opportunities for BEV future development? and 4) How viable are BEVs as a solution to harnessing low-carbon renewable sources in Iceland? The study uses original qualitative data comprising 29 research interviews involving experts from a wide range of sectors. The conceptual framework of multi-mode interaction, or “inter-niche competition”, is incorporated into the MLP to illustrate the interaction between BEVs and other technologies, in particular, plugin hybrid electric vehicles. We find that BEVs may take de-alignment and re-alignment pathway or reconfiguration pathway depending on the multi-technology interaction modes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Early online date6 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Elsevier B.V. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Electric mobility
  • Iceland
  • Multi-Level Perspective
  • Sociotechnical transitions
  • Inter-niche competition
  • Multi-mode interaction

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