Could GM really be serious this time?

David Pogue (New York Times blog) has an interesting Q&A with GM’s Bob Lutz about the Volt concept car and GM’s commitment to electric vehicle technology. A few choice comments from Lutz:

A lot of us see it as the most interesting and most fascinating technical challenge of our whole careers. I mean, this car means more to me than anything else I’ve had anything to do with in the 42 years that I’ve been in the business. I think this is because it’s transformational.


There are cynics, and some of them are our competitors, who say, “Don’t be fooled by what General Motors is showing you. They have no intention of building this thing. This is just smoke and mirrors to take everybody’s mind off their sport utilities,” and so forth. And in order to allay that, at various stages of the program, we are going to bring in members of the media. I’m hoping that as early as spring of ‘08, we will have the first rough prototypes running, which will permit members of the media to drive 30 or 40 miles purely on batteries and listen to the internal combustion engine kick in.


My personal target still is to bring this car into the market at, you know, nicely below $30,000. And if we achieve that, it will really become a viable solution. If we have to charge 60 or 70 or 80, then it’ll be bought by Hollywood celebrities and other entertainment figures, and the odd politician for going to rallies, and that’ll be it.

These are encouraging words, and an amazing departure from GM’s stance just a year ago. I want to be one of those journalists who get to drive the first prototypes.

One thought on “Could GM really be serious this time?”

  1. Whether by luck or by cunning, GM could well regain a leadership role in the future of cars. By not getting seriously into hybrids before the very recent advent of truly capable batteries, they are not saddled with an outdated hybrid infrastructure. Bob Lutz is correct that what GM is doing with the Volt is transformational: liquid fuel, and the on-board device (engine or fuel cell) that consumes it, become optional.

    As battery costs decline, the option becomes an appendix; easily excised without ill effect.

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