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Competitiveness and Sustainability Effects of Cars and their Business Models in Swedish Small Town Regions
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. (SustainTrans)
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. (SustainTrans)
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

This article aims to develop and test a new approach for comparing sustainability effects (mainly approximated through CO2 emissions) and the total cost of ownership of various business models (Regular Purchasing, Car Pooling, Car Leasing, and Taxiing) applied to private cars with different energy carriers (Biogas, Ethanol, Gasoline, Plug-in Hybrid, and Electric). The results indicate that, out of all of the vehicles, electric vehicles are the most competitive—from both an ecological and economic perspective. Moreover, of all of the business models, Car Pooling is the most competitive when driving short to medium distances, reducing CO2 emissions by 20-40% compared with Regular Purchasing. Meanwhile, Car Leasing emits the same amount of CO2 emissions as Regular Purchasing if both are driven the same number of kilometers per year. The results also indicate that, from a cost effectiveness perspective, people who travel less than 2000 km per year should primarily consider using Taxis or similar services, while Car Pooling is most cost effective for those who travel from 2000 to 8500 km. For those who travel between 8500 and 13500 km per year, Car Leasing is the most cost effective, and Regular Purchasing is the best option above 13500 km per year. If most car owners were to accept and adapt to this identified need for a market move towards Car Pooling with Electric Vehicles, necessary transportation could be ensured while significantly reducing the number of cars on the road, whether from Regular Purchasing or Car Leasing, as well as those that run on fossil fuel. This, in turn, would result in less fossil fuel use, fewer emissions, and decreased negative effects on human health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016.
Keyword [en]
Business modeling; Sustainable transport, Total Cost of Ownership, Electric car, Fossil-fueled car, Life cycle costing
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-11835OAI: diva2:922694
Available from: 2016-04-24 Created: 2016-04-24 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An Approach to Business Modeling for Sustainable Personal Road Transport
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Approach to Business Modeling for Sustainable Personal Road Transport
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Between 1950 and 2013 the total amount of Swedish travelling has increased from about 20 billion to about 140 billion passenger kilometers. This included an increase in travelling with private cars from about 3 billion to about 105 billion passenger kilometers, and in bus travelling from about 2.5 billion to about 5 billion passenger kilometers. The European commission has indicated that public transportation (if powered by clean fuels) is a suitable way to reduce environmental and health problems.


This thesis focuses on sustainable personal road transport, and aims to develop and test a new approach to examining the economic and socio-ecological sustainability effects of various road vehicles for private travelling and related business models. A special focus is set on comparing various bus systems for public transport and ways (business models) for private people to access cars. The main comparison parameters are the total cost of ownership and carbon dioxide emissions of different energy carriers for buses and cars. The Design Research Methodology is used to guide the research approach. The approach also builds on the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, which includes, for example, principles that define any sustainable future and a strategic planning process. The approach first employs Strategic Life Cycle Assessment to give a quick overview of sustainability challenges in each bus life cycle stage from raw materials to end of life. Several analysis tools such as Life Cycle Costing, Life Cycle Analysis, Product Service System, and Business Model Canvas mapping are then iteratively used to ”dig deeper” into identified prioritized challenges. Literature reviews, interviews, and simulations are used as supporting methods.


The results from a first theoretical test of the new approach suggest that a shift from diesel buses to electric buses (powered by renewable energy) could significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions, while also significantly lowering the total cost of ownership. The theoretical calculations were followed up by testing of electric buses in real operation in eight Swedish municipalities. The tests verified the theoretical results, and showed that electric buses are better than diesel buses both from a sustainability point of view and a cost point of view, and also that electric bus operation is a practically viable alternative for public transport. The new approach was tested also by comparing a variety of business models for private car travelling. The results indicate, among other things, that only people who travel more than 13.500 kilometers per year would benefit from owning a car.


In all, the thesis suggests a simultaneous shift from diesel buses to electric buses in public transport and, for the majority of the car drivers that drive less than 13.500 kilometers per year, switching from car ownership to car use services would be favourable for an affordable transition of the transport sector towards sustainability. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2016. 133 p.
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 3
Business Modelling, Sustainable Transport
National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:bth-11830 (URN)978-91-7295-327-7 (ISBN)
2016-10-12, J1650, Campus Gräsvik, Karlskrona, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-04-22 Created: 2016-04-22 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved

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