Just a few years ago everyone anticipated the switch from a 12-volt electrical system to a 42-volt system in the world's cars.
I never understood why it wasn't just a 36-volt system, but everyone was sure that this system for cars and trucks would quickly take over the electrical requirements for the world.
No one would have predicted that the 42-volt system now seems to have been shelved indefinitely.
It's interesting that when the switch was made from 6-volt systems to 12-volt systems in the 1950s, it happened almost overnight.
Within a year or two, it was almost impossible to find a vehicle without a 12-volt positive or negative ground electrical system.
Even now there are a variety of voltage outputs and types of plugs worldwide that we need to use for our razors and other electric appliances.
There are even different TV standards that make it impossible to use videotape in a videocassette recorder from another country.
Yet with this hodgepodge of global electrical systems, it amazes me that the automotive cigarette lighter seems to be the one standard used universally.
Today, it's probably used more as a power source for cell phones, but the plug and socket are the same in every vehicle worldwide. You wonder how that could have happened.
Now that automakers have put the 42-volt system on the back burner, is it possible to postpone other emerging technological developments?
Technology has outstripped the industry's ability to use or absorb all the new ideas.
Mercedes executives are to be congratulated because they realized their cars had more features than the customer needed or wanted, so they have eliminated some of them.
Now is a good time to step back, take a big breath and reassess technology. Not only have cars and trucks become too complicated, but technology is getting too expensive for the manufacturers.
It doesn't make a lot of sense - or cents - to put all the systems into one big control module and hope that everything works seamlessly forever. It hasn't in the past, and it won't in the future.
Let's all enjoy our cigarette lighters and power outlets and wonder how it could happen that everyone agreed without ever agreeing.