• Sign in to follow this  

    Bob Lutz: Plug-In Tech Is Better Suited For Larger Vehicles


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    January 17, 2013

    Former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has been know to speak his mind. At the Detroit Auto Show this week, Lutz told Autocar that he thinks that the technology in the Chevrolet Volt should have been put into a larger vehicle first.

    “Frankly, unless that customer is philosophically, religiously or economically affiliated to buying an electric vehicle, then they can’t be convinced. The first two types of buyer will buy whatever’s built, but the latter is a harder case. The obvious answer is to electrify as big a vehicle as you can, because that’s where the fuel and running cost savings make the most sense," Lutz said.

    Lutz goes onto say, “If I had my time again at GM then I would have started with the Cadillac Escalade for the range-extender technology, and brought the Volt in later. The more gas-guzzling the vehicle, the more economic sense of electrifying it. Car companies need to get their minds on that: electrifying an Opel Corsa that uses virtually no fuel anyway and then lumping a huge premium on it to cover the battery costs is nonsensical. Why bother? It uses virtually no fuel anyway."

    Lutz is part of a new company called VIA Motors which takes GM full-size trucks, SUVs, and Vans, and converts them into plug-in hybrid vehicles. Its first vehicle is due out sometime in 2013.

    Source: Autocar

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.



      Report Article
    Sign in to follow this  


    User Feedback



    Recommended Comments

    At $79k, this is interesting, but not "must have".

    Economy of scales and adoption of new technology. Too bad its booth was empty every time I was there - I wanted to talk with representatives.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I'm only interested in Lutz projects like his Fisker with Corvette ZR-1 engine... now THAT is a project worth doing! (even though I still think the car itself is not well made, an LS9 can transform ANYTHING into hotness!)

    • Downvote 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    He is correct! Its the large and less efficient models that need this tech more then the smaller and more efficient ones! I would have liked to have seen a larger RWD sedan model like say a true fullsize Buick Electra using the Voltech system were the cost of said system would be less important and impactful to the model! GM should have thought this out better I think!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Considering how many trains and container ships use electric motors with diesel generators, I totally see the sense of getting the full size trucks and SUV's to use the Volt style system. This would truly make a difference in the market for petrol. If semi trucks did this it would probably stop the need to import any oil period.

    Course better yet would be CNG and just leave all those dictators with having to find alternative markets for their oil. :P

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Considering how many trains and container ships use electric motors with diesel generators, I totally see the sense of getting the full size trucks and SUV's to use the Volt style system. This would truly make a difference in the market for petrol. If semi trucks did this it would probably stop the need to import any oil period.

    Course better yet would be CNG and just leave all those dictators with having to find alternative markets for their oil. :P

    Yes, Stephan Harper may be a bit too conservative for my tastes... but I wouldn't call him a dictator..

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Considering how many trains and container ships use electric motors with diesel generators, I totally see the sense of getting the full size trucks and SUV's to use the Volt style system. This would truly make a difference in the market for petrol. If semi trucks did this it would probably stop the need to import any oil period.

    Course better yet would be CNG and just leave all those dictators with having to find alternative markets for their oil. :P

    Yes, Stephan Harper may be a bit too conservative for my tastes... but I wouldn't call him a dictator..

    :rofl:

    Yea I always do forget about Canada as I consider it the Black Sheep of the NA Market. Was thinking more inline with the Arab countries and primarily Venezuela and their dictator for life.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Considering how many trains and container ships use electric motors with diesel generators, I totally see the sense of getting the full size trucks and SUV's to use the Volt style system. This would truly make a difference in the market for petrol. If semi trucks did this it would probably stop the need to import any oil period.

    Course better yet would be CNG and just leave all those dictators with having to find alternative markets for their oil. :P

    Yes, Stephan Harper may be a bit too conservative for my tastes... but I wouldn't call him a dictator..

    :rofl:

    Yea I always do forget about Canada as I consider it the Black Sheep of the NA Market. Was thinking more inline with the Arab countries and primarily Venezuela and their dictator for life.

    Most of our imported oil comes from Canada and Mexico. Venezuela's dictator for life doesn't have much life left anyway (bad cancer prognosis).

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yet with Canada, Mexico and Us producing more oil, the refined Gas stocks are going up and the oil companies are shipping the gas overseas due to higher prices they can get there and so our prices are not going down and even worse, lately they are going back up again.

    The Gov has done nothing to deal with the pricing fixing that is clearly going on with oil and gas prices.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I'm also skeptical. Lutz is saying this because he has a stake in VIA. Either that, or he's completely delusional.

    Starting off with an E-REV Escalade? An Escalade is $70K. Adding plug-in tech would push it past $100K, since the size and weight of that thing would necessitate beefier components than what's on the Volt. The market for $100K trucks is already slim, and for a major manufacturer to electrify a vehicle with such low sales potential for their very first PHEV would be an absolute joke. (Volt outsold Escalade, Escalade EXT, Escalade ESV, and Escalade Hybrid combined in 2012). People with that much money to spend don't care much about fuel costs, and if they are rich but care about the environment, they wouldn't drive around in something as conspicuously wasteful as an Escalade. As a GM stockholder, I'd seriously question their commitment to the technology, let alone their ability to plan products.

    Lutz is right in that going after high-volume gas guzzlers has the greatest impact on fuel use. But there are multiple ways of doing so. An automaker could spend millions hybridizing an existing oversized truck to be less of a guzzler, or a consumer could altogether buy something else. GM assumed that the demand for body-on-frame full-size SUVs is elastic, that people really needed Tahoes no matter what, when in truth, consumers were flexible and open to substitutes like a conventionally-powered Lambda crossover, which has the same fuel economy and space as a hybrid GMT-900 but costs $30K less and sells in much higher quantities. The E-REV Volt makes sense because it's built on an efficient platform to begin with, whereas with large SUVs, there was low-hanging fruit with a greater return on investment that should have been picked first.

    As for VIA Motors, it's the same hyperbolic crap that Lutz is known for spewing but not delivering. A Nissan LEAF gets 99 MPGe; the only way a VIA E-REV to get 100 MPG is if you don't count the electricity consumed and drive a few miles in range-extended mode. It's a pretty meaningless metric that's just a matter of how far one travels with the gasoline engine on. Judging by the specs, in all likelihood an E-REV Silverado will get 45 MPGe (EPA) on electricity, have a 30 mile EV range, and get 18 MPG in range-extended mode. Depending on whether or not you count electricity consumption, here's the likely range of MPGs:

    DOES NOT INCLUDE ELECTRICITY

    30 miles EV, 0 miles gas = infinite MPG

    30 miles EV, 5 miles gas = 126 MPG

    30 miles EV, 10 miles gas = 63 MPG

    30 miles EV, 20 miles gas = 45 MPG

    30 miles EV, 30 miles gas = 36 MPG

    INCLUDING ELECTRICITY

    30 miles EV, 0 miles gas = 45 MPGe

    30 miles EV, 5 miles gas = 37 MPGe

    30 miles EV, 10 miles gas = 33 MPGe

    30 miles EV, 20 miles gas = 28 MPGe

    30 miles EV, 30 miles gas = 26 MPGe

    These estimates are reasonable given a 6,000 lb truck and 24-kWh battery. A more aerodynamic 5,300 lb Fisker Karma with a 20-kWh battery gets 56 MPGe on electricity, has a 32 mile EV range, and gets 20 MPG in range-extended mode.

    Edited by pow

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The problem here is that truck owners are already a closed-minded bunch. Brand loyalty is huge and it'll be hard to dissuade them from sticking with a tried-and-true diesel or gas V8 drivetrain, as evidenced by the low adoption of GM's hybrid system. Factor in reliability concerns that truck owners will undoubtedly have about plug-in's and it pretty much equals a 'no sale.'

    If GM put a Volt-Tec drivetrain into a truck, I'd doubt it'd have gotten the traction the Volt has.

    Methinks Maximum Lutz is trying to minimize the Volt for his own gain.

    Edited by FAPTurbo

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    The problem here is that truck owners are already a closed-minded bunch. Brand loyalty is huge and it'll be hard to dissuade them from sticking with a tried-and-true diesel or gas V8 drivetrain, as evidenced by the low adoption of GM's hybrid system. Factor in reliability concerns that truck owners will undoubtedly have about plug-in's and it pretty much equals a 'no sale.'

    If GM put a Volt-Tec drivetrain into a truck, I'd doubt it'd have gotten the traction the Volt has.

    Methinks Maximum Lutz is trying to minimize the Volt for his own gain.

    Agreed. I don't know why the Big 3 won't offer a ~3 liter diesel for full-sized trucks and SUVs.

    I've driven a GL350 BlueTEC, and it seems to have all the motor one would ever need: 3.0L V6, 240-hp, 455 lb-ft. The curb weight is 5,800 lb, it does 0-60 in 7.5 seconds, and it gets 19/26 MPG.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The problem with the Volt is that it is neither as philosophically interesting as the Teslas or as economically approachable as the Prius. The folks who drink the Carbon Footprint Coolaid and have the money to spare will buy a Tesla. Those who do but don't have the dough buys a Prius. People who really want to save money buys a Corolla or a Civic. None of the above are particularly attracted to a $40K "economy" car which can go 40 miles on a charge then post worse mileage than Cruze afterwards.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.