I was never much of an athlete growing up, but I loved the thrill of competition. And I have no problem admitting that my overall combined sports record probably has a lot more losses than wins on it. Yet I always felt competition drove me to work harder to get better… even if I lost most of the time.
If you look at today’s industry, competition is still a driving factor in many success stories, and usually it is the best companies with the best products that win. But a panel of EV “experts” told the Automotive News Europe Congress that electric vehicles will only succeed through collaboration. Sounds a little too friendly to me.
Automobiles have only been around for a blip in time, and in that century they have progressed a great deal, while at the same time remaining true to their core. There used to be dozens more car companies than there are today. Who among us remembers Packard, or AMC, or when Stanley Steemer made cars? Not many. But this panel of experts believes that if EV’s are to happen quickly and painlessly, automakers need to set aside their differences and start working together. And they have been, to a certain extent.
Toyota and Tesla, Nissan and Daimler, all have agreed to share components and technology to improve vehicles. And that is great. But I think what really needs to happen first and foremost is that we get global adoption of charging and infrastructure standards. I know it’s coming, but it needs to happen faster. Car companies have always collaborated, but there are a lot of different ideas still floating out there for future vehicles. Will it be electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars that power us in the next twenty years? Will hybrids rule, or will more efficient ICE engines still go strong?
So I guess in a sense, I agree; automakers need to combine forces on certain technologies. But if they work too close together, we may all end up with some half-baked ideas without any other options. Competition is the key to getting a better electric car. The more these guys work against each other to deliver a superior product, the better off we, the consumer, will be at the end of the day. Remember, these are companies trying to make a profit, after all.
Source: Automotive News (subs. req’d) | Picture: GM