Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology


Information and Decision Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Njualem, Lewis A.


The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transition accelerated by global emission regulations for a phase out of internal combustion engines (ICEs) and a transition toward the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). While regulatory measures and incentivized adoption for EVs presents opportunities for reducing emissions and promoting sustainability, it also poses complex challenges. The EV industry faces potential production challenges, particularly in the sourcing, manufacturing, and lifecycle management of critical minerals and raw materials for electric vehicle batteries (EVBs). With a heavy reliance on a steady and diversified supply of critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt and rare earth elements, the finite nature of mineral resources poses long-term challenges for EV stakeholders.

The recent measures instituted by government regulations do recognize the need for EV stakeholder accountability, requiring substantiated evidentiary proof by way of data collection and analysis mandating resource recapture and reintroduction into circularity, environmental benefits, and real-time data availability. By implementing clear end-of-life requirements such as collection targets, material recovery goals, and extended producer responsibility, EV producers are held responsible for managing the entire lifecycle of electric vehicle batteries (EVBs). Government regulations are aimed at bolstering sustainability standards, and a high degree of accountability for all battery products, showing a clear shift towards circular economic standards.

This culminating experience project explores the role of collaborative initiatives and innovative technological frameworks, particularly, blockchain, smart contracts, and Nash equilibrium game theory, in addressing sustainability challenges within the EV ecosystem. The research questions are: (RQ1) How does the strategic application of blockchain technology within a circular economic framework facilitate cooperation among stakeholders in the EV industry, leading to improved oversight, enhanced accountability, and guided decision-making? (RQ2) How can the implementation of private-permissioned blockchain technology, particularly through smart contracts, be strategically employed to enhance transparency, traceability, and sustainability throughout the lifecycle of electric vehicles, within the broader context of the EV ecosystem? (RQ3) Why should EV industry stakeholders engage in a consortium, that is driven by blockchain technology, smart contracts, Nash Equilibrium game theory, and what are the potential effects?

The findings for each question are: (Q1) The partnership among RCS, IBM, Ford, exemplified how integrating blockchain into a circular economic framework can establish oversight, ensure accountability, and enable informed decision-making with traceable and transparent data circularity. Ford notably improved its cobalt due diligent management system, marked by a notable forty-six percentage point within one year, demonstrating its commitment to responsible sourcing and regulatory compliance. (Q2) Private-permissioned blockchain networks, especially with smart contracts, automate performance obligations, without an intermediary interaction, strengthening self-governance within a decentralized network. The consensus mechanism, integral to blockchain architecture, enhances accountability among EV stakeholders by validating and authenticating transactions. Opting for a consensus algorithm, emphasizing participant reputation over computational power, reduces reliance on resources while maintaining network integrity. (Q3) EV stakeholders and their tier-1 suppliers, in a consortium, are incentivized to uphold their reputation and branding through adherence to ethical and sustainable practices facilitated in a blockchain network. By doing so, they contribute to the overall stability of the industry and the circular economic framework, as mutual benefits are maximized, unilateral deviations are discouraged, and collaborative dynamics are fostered.

The conclusions are: (Q1) EV producers involved in circular economic initiatives can be perceived as collaborative partners that prioritize collective success over individual gain, fostering positive brand associations with teamwork and partnership. (Q2) By aligning incentives, fostering collaboration, and leveraging data-driven insights, EV producers and their suppliers can optimize resource use, minimize waste, and contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable economic model. (Q3) By adhering to ethical and sustainable practices the equilibrium ensures that EV stakeholders maintain trust and credibility, promoting a sustainable ecosystem for the EV industry within the circular economy.