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Bob Lutz
Bob Lutz and his pals tout the benefits of domestic oil production, electric vehicles

The last time we visited commentary from former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, he was firing back against the "Right-Wing Media" for its assault on the Chevrolet Volt. Lutz was a huge proponent of the Volt while at GM, and he helped spearhead the development of the gasoline/plug-in electric vehicle.
 
Now, in another column for Forbes magazine (written in conjunction with FedEx CEO Fredrick Smith, and U.S. Marines commandants General P.X. Kelley and General James Conway), Lutz is switching gears slightly to tout the positive benefits of oil independence and electric vehicles instead of attacking the "attackers".
 
Lutz and his posse argue that moving to vehicles that are more efficient or rely solely on electricity for power will boost the United States' national security. In addition, U.S. military manpower and financial resources are being strained to protect vital oil distribution points around the globe.
 
From a national security perspective, the U.S. military is forced to protect the world’s vital oil infrastructure… Protection of the sea lanes of commerce has become an American burden and will remain so, costing the United States Treasury an estimated $80 billion per year while taxing our military, which is already engaged on multiple fronts.
 
“Lutz and Friends” go on to say that the U.S. needs to produce more oil domestically (to isolate the country from global oil price spikes) while at the same time moving the U.S. transportation sector away from oil dependency. "The only way to fundamentally solve this problem is to break oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector, which accounts for 70 percent of the total oil consumed by the United States and relies on oil for 94 percent of its fuel," states the quartet.
 
As we reported nearly a year ago, Frederick Smith is definitely onboard with reducing our “addition” to foreign oil in an effort to boost the domestic economy. And like Lutz, Smith is hip to the idea of electrifying America’s transportation sector.


Chevrolet Volt enjoying a dip in the pool with the ladies. [Source: TECHVEHI]
 
Not surprisingly, the column throws a shout-out to the two primary players in the electric car market: the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf:
 
Regarding electrification, the beauty of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf is that they are powered by electricity, which can be generated from many sources: nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewables. Best yet, these are all domestic energy sources, meaning OPEC won’t be able to corner the market. And the retail price of electricity is far less volatile that the price of oil.
 
It seems inevitable that electrification will by the end game for vehicles in the future, but the question is should the government be footing the bill to jumpstart the process?

Source: Forbes



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RE: CNG
By Jedi2155 on 4/18/2012 1:19:40 AM , Rating: 2
CNG is less efficient than burning that NG in a power plant and using it in an electric vehicle. It can cost just as much as an electric vehicle to build.

There are significant pumping losses to compress the gas into your tank.

Keep in mind that you'll have to replace the CNG tank 8-15 years into service and that is not cheap.

The CNG infrastructure for consumers is not yet widespread yet, so there is some cost here as well.

A 240 mile range (most reporting under 200 mile real world) Honda Civic NG cost nearly $10,000 more than the base model Civic, and offer worse value in every other parameter (power, performance, range) etc.

It might have its uses in large fleet vehicles where the primary cost is operation, and a typical vehicle lifetime is between 5-10 years but some of those operators are really feeling the pinch of those CNG tank replacement costs.

Overall though, I don't think CNG consumer vehicles make sense at all for a standard residential customer.


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