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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: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By euroscot on 4/18/2012 7:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
Electric vehicles are expensive in Europe. Socialist-minded governments have had to provide taxpayer-funded subsidies in order to support the manufacturers selling efforts. I guess American EV manufacturers are supported by taxpayers also.
Car production in the UK is booming; but the majority of the vehicles are high-efficiency petrol or diesel fueled. (Petrol is "gas")
Fuel has always been expensive here, so the manufacturers have had to develop efficient engines and transmissions. For example, my 2003 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 litre does 44 British mpg ( about 37 mpg US). The engine was developed by Lotus Engineering for Vauxhall's owner, GM.
I am now paying £1.42 per litre, about $US2.27, about 66% of which is tax. The more polluting diesel is £1.46 per litre.
Other than that, the actual price of crude oil is set by the "market". The market comprises OPEC, and non-OPEC producers such as Norway and the UK. It's traded internationally, and the traders sell for as much as they can get.
We'll find that electric-cars will see a "retreating market". Conventional technology will get better making electric cars less attractive than hoped. For example, the Mini D: does 80mpg (British); the Astra "gas" turbo 1.4: does 57 mpg or better.
Finally, CNG public transport and LPG taxis are in widespread use in Seoul, which has a smog-prone climate a bit like LA/ SF.

RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Solandri on 4/18/2012 1:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
Conventional technology will get better making electric cars less attractive than hoped. For example, the Mini D: does 80mpg (British); the Astra "gas" turbo 1.4: does 57 mpg or better.

1. The EU uses a different mileage rating test than the U.S., which results in much better mpg ratings. Their tests use a lower top highway speed, and don't have as many stop and gos. It's not uncommon for vehicles with >50 mpg EU ratings to get EPA ratings in the low 30s.

2. The U.K. gallon is 20% bigger than a U.S. gallon.

3. Mileages over 50 mpg are mostly meaningless. Fuel consumption is actually the inverse of mpg. So when you start getting really big mpg, you're actually saving very little fuel. e.g. Going from 15 mpg to 25 mpg is "only" a 10 mpg difference. But it saves more fuel than going from 25 mpg to 50 mpg, which is a 25 mpg difference.

Finally, CNG public transport and LPG taxis are in widespread use in Seoul, which has a smog-prone climate a bit like LA/ SF.

CNG and LPG are better fuels than gasoline from an emissions standpoint. Their problem is their volumetric energy density is much lower than gasoline or diesel. If you've ever peeked in the trunk of a CNG car, there's not much room left over for luggage. You can stick maybe 3-4 grocery bags inside. A thin suitcase standing on its side.

That makes CNG/LPG good fuels for vehicles where cargo capacity doesn't matter as much, or which have lots of extra room. Buses, taxis (especially vans), utility trucks. It's not so good for a general purpose vehicle like a personal car, or for taxis which go to the airport.

By euroscot on 4/19/2012 6:02:17 AM , Rating: 2
Please read my actual post.
Yes, the British gallon is bigger than the US gallon. I said that! The British gallon is 4.536 litres; US is 3.785.
My Vectra does 44 mpg British in actual use! That includes 75 mph on the Motorway and 50 or 60 on rural roads.
Around town, it's 34 or so, depending on congestion.
And that's for an engine designed by Lotus in 1999!
EU fuel consumption figures include three outputs: highway, urban, and average. We are allowed to drive at up to 70mph UK, lot more in Germany.
My point was, Toyota claim low fuel consumption for the Prius. A similarly-sized petrol or diesel-fueled car is cheaper to buy and almost as good on fuel.
Now, back to electric:
In Europe, how long do people think it will take for Government to place a tax on "automotive electricity"? That's why many European countries are installing "smart meters".
Governments cannot afford to lose the automotive fuel tax. Full stop.
Then we'll see how great these electric cars are.

Fuel tax is wonderful. We get motorway bridges that aren't in danger of falling down (c.f much US infrastructure).
We get a health service which is often free or cheap at point of need (cf the dreadful state of poor people's health/ dental state in the US).
We get subsidised accomodation for poor people (c.f trailer parks in the US which are really like African shanty towns)
So don't decry fuel tax.
In case you wonder I've worked in the US in many places. Seen the good - it's wonderful!
Seen the bad - it's amazingly awful and sad for the people concerned.
You Americans need to pay more for automotive fuel.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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