Paths to the adoption of electric vehicles: An evolutionary game theoretical approach

Sara Encarnacao, Fernando P. Santos, Francisco C. Santos, Vered Blass, Jorge M. Pacheco, Juval Portugali

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75 Citations (Scopus)
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Electric vehicles (EVs) are a viable alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehi- cles, with the potential to alleviate the negative externalities stemming from the present ICE-based transportation sector. Notwithstanding, the current prevalence of ICE creates a lock-in state that averts the adoption of alternative and environmental friendly technolo- gies, bringing forth a social dilemma. Here we investigate the feasibility of escaping the present lock-in state by studying possible incentive mechanisms involving, simultaneously, governments (public), companies (private) and consumers (civil). Resorting to evolutionary game theory (EGT), we develop a theoretical model grounded on the strategic interactions between players from the different sectors, whose co-evolving choices influence (and are influenced by) different policies and social incentives. Our findings suggest that i) public regulation is necessary but not sufficient for guaranteeing full EV adoption; ii) public-civil synergies are essential; iii) demand for EVs preceding supply is most efficient, providing companies with the needed incentives to counterweigh infrastructure investments; and iv) full adoption of EVs requires coordination between the three sectors to emerge, particu- larly when changes are initiated by the public sector
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Part B-Methodological
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Electric vehicles
  • Evolutionary dynamics
  • Diffusion
  • Policy
  • Game theory


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