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Bob Lutz says that GM dropped the ball by taking an already fuel efficient vehicle and making it electric

Bob Lutz knows a thing or two about automobiles. The man has spent decades in the automotive industry at such companies like Ford, BMW, Chrysler, and General Motors. In the previous decade, Lutz was one of the men who spearheaded the development of the Chevrolet Volt — GM’s answer to the Toyota Prius.
 
However, in a new interview with the Seattle Times, Lutz explains that putting the Voltec powertrain in a small car first was a bad idea. “The whole automotive industry made the intellectual mistake of thinking EVs were all about maximum range, so we all started with small vehicles that are basically very economical anyway.”


Bob Lutz
 
He goes on to add, “It makes less sense to take a 40 mpg vehicle and make it electric than it does to take a full-size pickup or SUV, which in town realistically gets 11 to 12 mpg. If you take that to 100 mpg, now you’re really saving money and saving a scarce natural resource and reducing CO2 emissions drastically.”
 
But of course, Lutz already has a horse in this race. His current company, VIA Motors, has developed plugin-in hybrid pickups, SUVs, and vans that can travel up to 40 miles on battery power (and up to 300 miles once the gasoline engine/generator kicks in).
 
And while it’s true that the best-selling full-size trucks and SUVs are some of the most fuel-guzzling vehicles on American roads, auto manufactures are already taking steps to dramatically increase fuel economy. Chrysler is offering a VM Motori diesel engine in its half-ton Ram 1500 and the next generation Chevrolet Colorado will also be available with a diesel engine option. For its part, Ford is using aluminum to trim hundreds of pounds from its best-selling F-150 and efficient EcoBoost engines to boost highway fuel economy to near 30 mpg.


Volt MPV5 Concept
 
As for using the Voltec powertrain for vehicles larger than a compact-class car, General Motors had the chance to do so with the Volt MPV5 concept. That concept offered 5-passenger seating (versus four for the Volt) and up to 62 cu ft of cargo space. Instead, General Motors sought to recoup some of the initial costs of developing the Voltec powertrain by instead offering it in the $75,000 Cadillac ELR luxury coupe.

Source: Seattle Times





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