Bob Lutz, FedEx CEO Cite National Security as Reason to "Go Electric" with Volt, Leaf
April 17, 2012 6:21 PM
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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
. 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
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
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
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Plug In cars
4/18/2012 10:31:13 AM
One advantage not mentioned is that cars can charge at home overnight. This is off peak power, so no new powerplants or infrastructure is needed.
RE: Plug In cars
4/18/2012 1:50:34 PM
That worries me for two reasons.
First, a lot of people are calculating the cost of operating a plug-in EV using the price of off-peak electricity during night. In many cases this is 1/2 to 1/3 then price during the day. If EVs become widely adopted, power use overnight will increase, meaning it will no longer be off-peak, and the price of electricity will match the price during peak electrical demand. It'll cost 2-3 times more to charge your EV.
Second, most businesses use electricity during peak hours. Most homes use electricity during off-peak. If off-peak prices go up, so will everyone's home electric bill. Also by almost 2-3 times (less for the South where air conditioners are run during the day).
So really, to properly estimate the opportunity cost to switch the country over to EVs, you have to price the electricity used by the car at peak rates
add the increased cost of electricity for your home when off-peak prices disappear.
RE: Plug In cars
4/20/2012 12:36:26 PM
EVs aren't going to be charging during the evening when people are watching TV and cranking up the A/C, they'll be charging when everyone is sleeping. There's very little home electricity use at that time aside from the fridge.
It'll take a long time before EVs get to the level of increasing night price. I found this on google:
In the California region alone, and based on 1999 generation capacity, you could have 7 million EVs charging before you get major price increases prices.
And no, most people don't use night-time price in calculating the cost, probably because smart meters aren't in wide use. Almost everyone in the media uses the national average.
RE: Plug In cars
4/18/2012 7:01:05 PM
One advantage I didn't expect is not having to make a detour, then wait up to 1/2 hour in a long line at Costco to fill gas once a week.
Yes, I can arrange to go during a less busy time, but it would mean a special trip only to gas up - less time in line, but I waste time driving to the pump and back. Even a more expensive pump closer to home still means a detour, possibly waiting for a free spot, and time spent actually filling the tank.
In contrast, I drive into my garage every day, so it takes an extra 30 seconds every day plugging / unplugging. If that's too tedious, inductive charging mats are coming in a couple of years.
Disadvantage is that my windows are no longer as clean...
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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