The hydrogen hype of the last decade has passed and it is now seemingly substituted by the electric vehicle hype. A technological hype can have both positive as well as negative consequences. On the one hand it attracts sponsors for technology development but on the other hand the high expectations might result in disappointment and subsequent withdrawal of the sponsors. In this paper I ask the question to what extent the car industry has created the hype and how it has done so. The industry's role is studied through their prototyping activities and accompanying statements on market entry. I conclude that the car industry has indeed inflated the hype, especially through its public statements on market release after the turn of the millennium. Furthermore, it can be concluded that the industry has shown a double repertoire of both highly optimistic and more modest statements. It is possible that statements are used deliberately to serve the industry's interests whenever needed. Without neglecting the positive influence of technological hype on public policy and private funding for R&D efforts, more modest promises could serve the development of sustainable mobility better. For policy makers the challenge is to remain open to different options instead of following hypes and disappointments as they come and go.
Demonstration projects and trials Wind and solar photovoltaics Innovation lessons
Demonstration projects and trials (DTs) are an extension of the prototyping process into next phases of development and are widely used in reducing uncertainty for new technologies. During the last few decades, DTs have been extensively used to help overcome innovation uncertainties in renewable energy for electricity supply systems in the US, EU and Japan. However, there is still relatively little attention to this "uncertain middle" phase in accelerating complex, large-system innovation, particularly as to what companies actually value, as distinct from what advocates suggest they should gain and what policy makers believe publicly funded DTs should achieve. Following development of a comprehensive database of DTs, fifteen company cases have been developed on solar PV with nine on wind turbines to establish what benefits they deliver. These provide comprehensive lessons for the design, management and coordination of future DT programmes in low carbon energy technology.