The Second Automobile Revolution is Underway. Scenarios in confrontation


Freyssenet M., The Second Automobile Revolution is Underway. Scenarios in confrontation, in G. Calabrese (ed.), The Greening of the Automobile Industry, Palgrave, 2012, 304-322 pL Digital publication,, 2017, 200 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

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The quivering observed towards the alternative motorizations could be the start of at
least three scenarios. The consequences of these three scenarios on the geography, the
structure, the economy and the sociology of the world car industry are completely different.
In the first scenario, each car producer will be able to find its regional niche. In
the second, only most powerful carmakers will survive. In the third, the newcomers and
the innovating enterprises will have the possibility of engage a rapid « Second Automobile
Revolution ». The winning scenario will prevail, after confused and nevertheless
rough fights, not because of its technical superiority or of its best environmental performances,
but initially because of energy geopolitics and of firm profit strategies. For
these reasons, the third scenario, the scenario of electric vehicle, that appears today
most random, could impose in the next years, as the improbable petrol car scenario imposed
one century ago. This does not mean that carmakers that bet this scenario will
necessarily be any winners. The cemetery of car manufacturers is full, as is well known,
of manufacturers have been technically innovative in their time.


1. Three of the four conditions for a new automobile revolution are about to be fulfilled

2. The scenario of diversity

3. The scenario of progressiveness

4. The scenario of rupture
4.1. The two stages of the rupture
4.2. Many active supporters to form coalitions
4.3. The conditions that make the rupture scenario possible are not technical, but geopolitical
4.4. The consequences of the rupture scenario, if it prevailed, would be considerable


Key words

Automobile, clean cars, electrical vehicules, social conditions of technical revolution

Concerned disciplines

Anthropology, Economics, Ergonomics, Management, Geography, History, History of Sciences and Technologies, Engineering, Political Science, Sociology

Writing context

to personal questioning
to scientific reflection of research laboratory or network
to national and international scientific debate
to diffusion of scientific results
to implementation of scientific results

References, commentaries, critics

Current relevance

See also

Boyer R.,Freyssenet M., Is a second automobile revolution underway? How to improve our capacity to answer? , Slides presentation. 25th GERPISA colloquium, ENS Cachan, 14-16 june 2017, Numeric Publishings,, 2017, Ko ;, 2017, 60 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Freyssenet M., La industria automotriz en la crisis económica y ambiental mundial : lo que esta en juego, Ponencia para la conferencia «Pasado, Presente y Futuro del Automóvil en Castilla y León », Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid, 19-22 septiembre 2011. Edición numérica :, 2011, 2,6 Mo, ISSN 7116-0941.

Freyssenet M., Three possible scenarios for cleaner automobiles, International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, issue n°4, 2011. Digital publication,, 2013, 217 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Freyssenet M., La seconde révolution automobile : ses promesses et ses incertitudes, original en français de «The second automobile revolution : promises and uncertainties», in Freyssenet M. (ed.), The Second Automobile Revolution. Trajectories of the World Carmakers in the 21st century, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp 443-454. Édition numérique :, 2009, 196 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Freyssenet M., Are we at the outset of a Second Automobile Revolution? Inquiries proposal. Slides presentation, in Jullien B. (dir.), Proceedings of the 17 th international colloquium of GERPISA « Sustainable Development in the Automobile Industry: Changing Landscapes and Actors », 17-19 june 2009, Paris. Digital publication,, 2009, 1,5 Mo;, 2009, 1,5 Mo, ISSN 7116-0941.

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