A field test and its displacements. Accounting for an experimental mode of industrial innovation
In June 2012, the French car company Renault turned Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, a town on the outskirts of Paris, into a test and demonstration laboratory. The com-
pany introduced a fleet of 50 electric cars as part of a car-sharing system without fixed stations called Twizy Way. This scheme was a component of the manufacturer’s development strategy for the electric car market. This paper analyses this initiative in order to account for an experimental mode of industrial innovation. Characterised by the use of sociotechnical instruments in order to explore social and technical uncertainties and produce public demonstrations, this experimental mode is based on various kinds of experiments. Building on Science and Technology Studies and Actor Network Theory, this paper discusses two of them, which are in the same time two propositions for the organisation of codesign: a planned field test designed by Renault; and the collection of inquiries that resulted from the extension of the number of experimenters. These descriptions point to the analytical interest of the study of experimental trajectories in public and private interventions related to industrial projects, particularly in situations where the scope of the involved actors is not pre-given.
Artículo en coautoría con Birce Laurent