Electromobility research in Germany and China: structural differences

Electromobility (e-mobility) is applicable to issues from sustainable transportation to revolutionary driving behaviour. The wide-ranging influence of this concept calls for a shift toward an internationalization of e-mobility research in developed and developing countries alike. Germany and China, as the major exporters and volume producers in the automotive industry, have established the goal of becoming market leaders in e-mobility by 2020. Compared to China, Germany, as a forerunner in the field of e-mobility, is unexpectedly lagging behind in both the sale volume of electric vehicles (EVs) and the share of international publications. Since 2006, China has been the second largest single “producer” of EV-related published research, trailing only the United States. However, the technological capabilities—applying science to real-world issues—seem to be under-represented in these publications. This paper explores structural differences in e-mobility research landscapes and examines possible contextual explanations for the differences between Germany and China. The study involves a detailed comparison of articles sourced from the two countries, beginning with a broad overview of recent research and ending with a short content analysis of the statement concerning current progress and practical challenges for e-mobility development in Germany and China. The conclusion reached is that both countries have explored topics related to EV modes, batteries, energy management and the smart grid; however, specific terms of interest have evolved differently in the two countries. Compared with China, Germany has not achieved a rapid increase in the number of international publications but has still accumulated a vast reservoir of scientific talents and technological resources through the scientific collaboration between academia and industry. Universities, as the main loci of scientific research in China, have actively engaged in international cooperation, addressing problems with no apparent differences from those addressed in Germany. The authors’ views relative to the development of e-mobility in the two countries vary greatly from group to group, indicating that differences should be considered in both the pattern of knowledge production and the research context.


Author(s):Qu Zhao
Organization: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Source: Scientometrics
Year: 2018

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