GM’s ignition recall – the turning point for the classic key? image

The now antiquated ignition key technology – which has been around for 65 years, with the same amount of time drivers complaining about it – could be soon a thing of the past.

GM’s incredibly scandalous recall, which affected 2.6 million cars with a defective ignition switch – in specific situations the key could trigger an engine shutdown, which in turn stopped the proper function of critical safety systems, could hasten the technical evolution that would ultimately dismiss the key.

The technology to start the car, which evolved from the hand-crank starter that appeared over 100 years ago and saw Chrysler wide introduction of the ignition key in 1949, has already moved to keyless access and start-up. That means – depending on the automaker, you can have your key in your pocket and still be able to open and lock the doors and use a button to start the engine. The idea was first shown in Mercedes models in the late 1990s and is now an option in around 72 % of 2014 cars and trucks sold in the US.

“People really see the push button as a convenience and a luxury feature,” said Bill Visnic, senior editor at Edmunds.com. “The ignition switch is a very fussy, electro-mechanical part that’s seen as less reliable.”

Now, in the wake of the recall, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra testified before Congress about the recall and also said that the situation could make the No.1 US automaker to standardize across its full line-up the push-button start system.