Former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz is questioning the auto industry’s judgment when it comes to electric vehicles. In an interview with the Seattle Times, the auto executive says electrification should have started with trucks, where the efficiency gains are way more significant.
“We started at the wrong end. The whole automotive industry made the intellectual mistake of thinking EVs were all about maximum range, so we all started with small vehicles that are basically very economical anyway,” said Lutz when asked if the Chevrolet Volt should have been a truck rather than a sedan.
“Yes, you do save fuel. You can use a smaller battery, but it makes less sense to take a 40 mpg vehicle and make it electric than it does to take a full-size pickup or SUV, which in town realistically gets 11 to 12 mpg. If you take that to 100 mpg, now you’re really saving money and saving a scarce natural resource and reducing CO2 emissions drastically,” he explained.
Lutz added that the electrification of full-size pickup trucks and SUVs will also help keep these “endangered species” within the strict limits of fuel-economy regulations.
“Bigger trucks are the only electrified vehicles that I know of that make instant economic sense because the fuel saving is so large that you will more than get back your monthly lease price,” Lutz says. He added that electric trucks would also have the advantage of exportable power, acting as an emergency power generator in case there’s a power outage.
While Lutz’s opinions may have something to do with his role as chairman of VIA Motors, an Utah-based company that converts GM trucks, cargo vans and passenger vans into extended-range electric vehicles, one has to admit he does have a point.
By Dan Mihalascu