Auto Service World
News   May 24, 2023   by Adam Malik

Why electric and not other technologies?

Other technologies have a rightful claim as being viable — and maybe better — alternatives to gas-powered engines than electric. So why aren’t they popular?


Image credit: Depositphotos.com

Look down at your keyboard. See those first few keys at the top left? QWERTY. That’s how just about every keyboard starts out.

Why? Because it was the first one that was really used. Way back in 1874, the Remington typewriter went on the market with a keyboard that started with QWERTY.

And it’s stuck ever since. Even though other keyboards with better layouts have come and gone, QWERTY has stuck around. That’s the advantage of being first to market.

For that same reason, electrification is how the automotive industry has chosen to transform, as opposed to other options like hydrogen.

“We are seeing EVs get this early advantage on the infrastructure side. It has a long way to go, but if you’re talking about hydrogen or biofuels, they have farther to go,” explained Paul McCarthy, president of MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers.

“So there is this idea — at least when we look to the midterm, say, a 2030 year timeframe — that EVs may get more share than they might deserve from an engineering standpoint, just because the government has picked it and the infrastructure’s coming.”


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McCarthy expanded on that last point — governments around the world have picked electrification to receive their support. It’s very much regulation- and legislation-driven.

“We all talk about China, ‘Oh my gosh, the EVs are all growing.’ We know why that is: The government is saying [that’s their choice]. We know why it’s growing in West Europe; we know why it’s growing in California,” McCarthy said during his presentation, 2023 Aftermarket Outlook: Electrification Forecast.

“This is very regulatory-driven. And that will be even more so as we look around the world. And that probably matters more to the adoption curve than technology, engineering, logic or optimization — or even economics.”

Some governments may buck the curve. They may see keeping ICE vehicles on the roads in their country as advantageous. A market may say, “Bring us your tired, your weary ICE vehicles. We’ll get them — they have no value for you — we’ll take them. We will have an economic advantage for 20 or 30 years,” McCarthy described as their message. “We just don’t know. But if you want to know where this is going to go, for better, for worse, we need to follow the governance and see where they’re heading.”


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1 Comment » for Why electric and not other technologies?
  1. Kim Stankiewicz says:

    At the turn of the last century when the automobile was first invented, multiple forms of power were introduced concurrently. What developed were the technologies that made sense for the applications. It has never worked when change is legislated. There are too many applications where electric simply won’t work without negative economic impacts. Let technology develop the future.

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