SMTAI 2022: Like a Tesla in a Drag Race

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If you’ve ever experienced an electric car launching from a dead stop, felt the torque and acceleration that a motor made of magnets and copper coils can deliver over a combustion engine, then you’ll have a sense for how this year’s SMTAI took off—both literally and figuratively.

The launch to the event was John Thomas’ keynote on “the EV conundrum.” Thomas is a key executive with Autel, a new startup specializing in EV chargers. Early in his presentation, referring to the industry and government commitments to stop selling combustion engine automobiles by 2035, Thomas said, “Never have I seen an adoption happen as fast as this.”

Later, however, he used a pair of photographs to illustrate how we’ve transitioned even faster in the past. One photo showed a New York City street in 1903, with a crush of horse-drawn carriages and a lone automobile. The second photo, taken of a NYC street in 1913, showed a traffic jam of automobiles, with a single horse-drawn carriage. Did the hay-selling companies transition to gasoline?  


Thomas’ keynote positively dripped with optimism wrapped in uncertainty. By the end of his speech, it was clear that the automobile will eventually be made up of 94% electronics and 6% mechanics. Clearly, in the automotive industry overall, the hay-sellers of today will need to pivot to new business models. Simultaneous optimism and urgency was the takeaway from the keynote.


Moments later, the show launched like a Tesla in a drag race. Just 90 minutes into the show, multiple exhibitors I talked to proclaimed that they’d already taken more customer leads than during the entire show in 2021. Attendees were here to learn and, most likely, make some purchase decisions. The technical conference tracks and the networking events continue through tomorrow.  

We’ll be posting audio interviews from the show on our Real Time with… SMTAI site. Keep checking back for more show coverage over the next few months. See you on the road.




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