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Making electric mobility happen: Insights from a reflexive, multi-method research program


Electric mobility is showing promise as one component of a long-term low-carbon transition. But is widespread success guaranteed? And what roles can policymakers, consumers, and other stakeholders play in assuring a socially beneficial transition? Dr. Jonn Axsen shares insights into these questions, drawing from his reflexive, multi-method research program over the last 12 years. His published studies include analyses of consumer surveys, semi-structured interviews, technology adoption models, dynamic simulation models and policy analysis. Focusing on the case of electric mobility in North America’s passenger vehicle sector, he summarizes results suggesting the size of the potential consumer market, the role of this market in achieving 2050 climate change mitigation goals, and the particularly critical role of policy in inducing such a transition. Further, the presentation will attempt to illustrate the value of reflexivity in one’s research program, drawing from multiple methods, theories and viewpoints over time.

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Dr. Jonn Axsen is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and Director of the Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team (START). His research program explores transitions to sustainable energy and transportation systems, drawing from the disciplines of economics, psychology, sociology and engineering to investigate the nexus of technology, environmental policy, and human behaviour. Jonn publishes frequently in various peer-reviewed journals relating to environmental studies, energy, transportation and economics, and his study of consumers’ social valuation of electric vehicles earned him recognition as “Young Researcher of the Year” at the OECD’s 2011 International Transportation Forum. His research methods include large-scale consumer and citizen surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups, energy-economy modeling, statistical analysis and policy analysis.

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