Change? Sure, Sometimes.
Taking the reins implies the horses remain.
SAE’s Automotive Engineering magazine is not immune to the constant beat of changes happening across the automotive industry. In case you’re curious what that means, the byline and picture accompanying this editorial should provide the clues you need: it’s time for a new editor-in-chief.
We’ll start with a short introduction. I’ve been a reporter for 30 years, and my history covering the automotive industry, especially EVs, effectively started with my first bit of on-location event coverage in 2006. I had recently started as the editor of AutoblogGreen, and a new EV startup by the name of Tesla was about to unveil its first product. I went to learn as much as I could, not really knowing what I was in for or, with the power of hindsight, what it would later mean to so easily schedule an interview with Elon Musk or one of the original co-founders, Martin Eberhard. Aside from my first ride that night, the moment I remember most was almost elbowing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as I was backing up while trying to take a picture of the just-unveiled Roadster. He was kind about it, as I remember.
All of us have been watching Tesla’s journey since that fateful night, including the wider impacts of growing electrification and, later, automated driving technologies. My biggest hope here at AE is to continue to tell the many stories that are happening everywhere – not just those that were kickstarted in a Santa Monica airport hanger in 2006 – as changes continue to ripple from the twin challenges of electrification and automation.
I’m absolutely thrilled to take over the EIC reins from the now-happily retired Lindsay Brooke. He and I worked together numerous times when I was a contributor to this magazine over the years. I have fond memories of writing about Hyundai’s winter testing efforts for the Nexo FCV and Kona EV in 2018 and helping the editorial team cover sprawling events like CES and the ACT Expo for SAE’s Truck & Off-Highway Engineering magazine.
It was during one of those intense CES weeks a few years ago that Brooke said something to me that was both liberating and, at the time, a bit daunting: “Find out what’s new with radar this year.” That was enough guidance to send me on my way, apparently. Brooke’s open-ended and eager inquisitiveness – especially when you’re at a place like CES and you can get a legitimate answer to an assignment like that – is an SAE hallmark that will not change on my watch.
Because some things should remain the same. Curious foundations and a desire to understand “what’s new with X” will help us all figure out what’s coming down the road. I won’t pretend to be able to wrap my head around all of the changes currently happening in our industry, or that I can tell you exactly how new sensors being created or software being written today will affect cars in the market in 2030. For every lidar advance I could spend time learning about, there are three battery chemistry stories I’ll miss. The good news is that you’re not relying on just me. We’ve got the right team. We’ve got the right foundations. We know, I hope, when change is good and when not changing is better.