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Mirroring in production? Early evidence from the scale-up of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Marc Alochet, John Paul Macduffie and Christophe Midler
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Marc Alochet: i3-CRG - Centre de recherche en gestion i3 - X - École polytechnique - Université Paris-Saclay - I3 - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
John Paul Macduffie: Department of Management [University of Pennsylvania]
Christophe Midler: i3-CRG - Centre de recherche en gestion i3 - X - École polytechnique - Université Paris-Saclay - I3 - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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Abstract: The mirroring hypothesis is central to modularity theory, positing isomorphism between technical interdependencies of a product and organizational arrangements. When a product's design becomes more modular, a full mirroring response would change both its manufacturing and its supply chain. We evaluate this prediction for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), observing whether automakers have mirrored the modular BEV architecture in either internal production processes, external sourcing arrangements, or both. Our data from 19 automakers show that, to date, BEVs are manufactured in their assembly plants alongside conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). New automakers with fully BEV plants utilize essentially the same production process. Furthermore, automakers make—or ally to make—key Electric Vehicle (EV) systems, rather than outsourcing them. We discuss the implications of this partial mirroring for modularity theory and ask whether these arrangements will persist once BEV sales surpass ICEVs.

Keywords: modularity mirroring design production technological change electric vehicles; modularity; mirroring; design; production; technological change; electric vehicles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-tre
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Published in Industrial and Corporate Change, 2023, ⟨10.1093/icc/dtac028⟩

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03927381

DOI: 10.1093/icc/dtac028

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