Lutz on plug-in trucks: “Why wouldn’t you start there?”
So, why didn’t you start there, Bob?
There are a number of people on this blog that have made fun of me over the years for my admiration of ex-GM Vice Chairman et al, Bob Lutz, an admiration I willfully admit. I’ve relished every opportunity to be around that guy, even though I’ve disagreed with him over and over, and regularly used to refer to him as ‘Lutz the Putz’ whenever he went on one of his ‘I hate the Prius’ rants.
But I’ve learned more from that guy than anyone else in the industry — and respect him more than most in the industry — even though he keeps dropping doozeys.
For instance, recently, regarding range extended electric pickup trucks, Lutz claimed, “Why wouldn’t you start there?”
I don’t know, Bob. Why didn’t you start there when you fathered the Chevy Volt into reality?
Even before the Volt, when Lutz more regularly mocked the Prius and Toyota’s hybrid forecasts — which basically came true — Lutz claimed that GM was focusing on dual mode hybrids instead because the technology worked on large pickup trucks and SUVs — the kinds of vehicles Americans want and demand according to Lutz, then and today. Pickup trucks, Lutz claimed and still claims, guzzle the most fuel anyway, so why not focus there?
And GM did. Unfortunately, GM’s dual mode trucks have become almost irrelevant. Consumers just aren’t interested because of their higher costs.
This time; however, range extended electric vehicles will be different, Lutz claims, because fleets, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, have crunched the long term fuel costs of their fleets and they like the results of Via’s range extended electric modified GM pickups.
Maybe, and I agree, why not start there? If you really want to change what America drives, it’s all about pickup trucks, and neither the Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf, nor the Volt address that obvious reality.
Yet, I’ve heard similar commentary regarding GM’s dual mode hybrid pickups in the past, with barely any results. Perhaps, long term, thanks to their electric capabilities, EREV pickup trucks do actually make financial sense — with massive tax incentives I’m sure. Unfortunately, I’m sure they still won’t make sense to average consumers until costs decline dramatically.
Still, if Lutz really believes the load he’s dishing, why wasn’t he a more vocal advocate while at GM? Why didn’t GM focus on the vehicles that matter most when he had so much power to affect GM’s decisions, especially since Lutz has been focused on this angle since long before the Volt?
While I think I believe I know the answer to that question, I’ll just leave it there for now.