Dear reader,

In the 80s, the three tape-based video formats VHS, Betamax and Video 200 competed for the favor of private users of video cassette recorders. In the end, the VHS system prevailed. This was then successively replaced by the DVD at the beginning of the new millennium, and soon after, the competitive battle was repeated between the descendants of the DVD, HD DVD, VMD, and Blu-ray Disc, where the Blu-ray Disc won. The losers of such a competition are both the manufacturers and the users of the defeated systems. If a user bet on the wrong system, then they would need to make another investment fairly soon to ensure that the latest films could be enjoyed.

Right now, this development reminds me of the replacement of conventional combustion engines and fossil fuels by alternative powertrains and new fuels. The difference is that there are not just three competing systems as there were for home cinemas, but a plethora of alternatives such as the fully electric or hybrid powertrain, the fuel cell, the hydrogen engine, the gas-powered engine (LPG or CNG), as well as synthetic and biofuels. And in contrast to home cinema systems, politics plays a crucial role in the alternative solutions for heavy duty vehicles. Hence, from today's perspective, it cannot be said with certainty which technology will prevail in the medium and long term. Likewise it is uncertain whether the technically best solution will be triumphant since this is closely interwoven with the expansion or lack of corresponding infrastructure.

Since the market is already demanding environmentally friendly vehicles from manufacturers, they are forced to commit themselves to certain systems for each application (urban operation, long-haul transport, heavy load applications, etc.) and offer completed vehicles and machines. Only time will tell if each manufacturer (and buyer) has bet upon the "right horse."


Andreas Fuchs

Responsible Editor

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