The world that chose the machine: An evolutionary view of the technological race in the history of the automobile

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Amatucci, M.


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 15, Number 1, p.43-62 (2015)



Biographical notes: Marcos Amatucci is an Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and a Professor of the International Business Programme at ESPM, Sao Paulo, Brazil. His areas of interest are innovation, sustainability, internationalisation and epistemology. The lock-in escape of a carbon-dependent transportation technology requires the full understanding of the factors that caused the lock-in at the turn of the 20th century. Most literature about the phenomenon is descriptive and lacks theoretical strength. An evolutionary view based on Darwin's concepts of variety generation, the struggle for existence, coevolution and natural selection is offered as a theoretical framework to address the lock-in, which can be generalised to other types of innovation in the presence technological competition. This study uses a historical methodology to analyse and interpret narrative sources. Evidence suggests that the competing technologies were not 'better' or 'worse' per se, but environmental changes transformed technological varieties into advantages or disadvantages in the technological race and selected a prevailing standard. Copyright © 2015 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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