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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Embedding imaginaries- electric vehicles in Sweden's fossil fuel free future

Mutter, Amelia


The purpose of this study is to explore the interaction between visions of the future and policy through the analysis of one Swedish policy document, a 2013 government investigation Fossil Fuel Freedom on the Road, and its subsequent policy process. Here, I examine the emergence of a sociotechnical imaginary (Jasanoff & Kim, 2009) that places electric vehicles at the center of a fossil fuel independent future. Analysis centers on textual analysis of this document as well as responses from a formal consultation process and two concrete policy measures showing how this imaginary is stabilized through interaction with additional actors and translation to additional contexts. This electric vehicle imaginary as presented in the policy report focuses on the role of electric vehicles in fighting climate change, as well as the increased energy efficiency and positive impact on city environments these vehicles promise. Additionally, this investigation identifies a specific policy agenda where electric vehicles are introduced first for personal vehicles and urban buses. This imaginary is stabilized in the consultation responses and two policy instruments, showing a process of embedding. Frictions, however, remain as these documents introduce contestations around biofuels versus electric vehicles and which sections of transport should be electrified.


Sociotechnical imaginaries; Electric vehicles; Transport policy; Sweden

Published in

2021, volume: 129, article number: 102742

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Linköping University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

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