Jan 17

Bob Lutz: Electrifying small cars ‘nonsensical;’ do the larger vehicles first

 

Automakers trying to make already relatively fuel-efficient vehicles even more frugal through electrification have their priorities essentially backwards, says Bob Lutz.

The former General Motors vice chairman who pushed the compact extended-range Chevrolet Volt and Ampera sister to market and who now is on the board of VIA Motors says if he was to do it all over again, he’d electrify gas guzzlers first.

More specifically, Lutz said if he was back and in charge at GM, he’d apply the Voltec formula to the Cadillac Escalade – which some say is a symbol of conspicuous consumption and alternately this can be seen as a point of pride or others see it as courting wretched excess.
 

2013-Chevrolet-Volt-010
 

What ever it may be, Lutz says the Volt is practically a wasted exercise – at least at the price GM is selling it for. In his interview with Autocar, it was also brought up that the Volt project was a bargaining chip in negotiating the GM bailout with the Obama administration.

So, it was seen as an expedient also, but Lutz is now marketing GM “glider” chassis vehicles for VIA that have been converted to series hybrids. Their prices are negotiable for fleet orders, and the vehicles are highly configurable, but quoted selling figures have begun in the high 70s.

That sum of money happens to be right in Escalade territory, so does Mr. Lutz have a valid point?

Here is what he said to AutoCar as relayed also by InsideEVs:

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, and we shouldn’t forget that the Volt and sister car Opel Ampera are the world’s best-selling electric car, but the truth is that even then it’s not meeting sales expectations, and that’s because most customers don’t want to pay out a major expense for the technology to make minor savings.

“Frankly, unless that customer is philosophically, religiously or economically affiliated to buying an electric vehicle, then they can’t be convinced. The first two types of buyer will buy whatever’s built, but the latter is a harder case. The obvious answer is to electrify as big a vehicle as you can, because that’s where the fuel and running cost savings make the most sense.

“If I had my time again at GM then I would have started with the Cadillac Escalade for the range-extender technology, and brought the Volt in later. The more gas-guzzling the vehicle, the more economic sense of electrifying it. Car companies need to get their minds on that: electrifying an Opel Corsa that uses virtually no fuel anyway and then lumping a huge premium on it to cover the battery costs is nonsensical. Why bother? It uses virtually no fuel anyway.”

 

El Hadji Diouf of Blackburn Rovers' Gold Cadillac Escalade parked in Manchester city centre
 

A base two-wheel-drive V8-equipped Escalade starts with an MSRP of $63,170 and returns fuel economy of 14 mpg city, 18 mpg highway. Prices escalate for the Escalade up through the 60s and 70s, and the 2-mode hybrid versions are $83,295 and $85,845 respectively for the two- and all-wheel-drive versions. The hybrids get a rated 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.

What do you think an Escalade would go for via VIA Motors? Would it be a deal at, say, $89,900 or into the $90s or more? Would it be worth it as a series hybrid with 40 miles all-electric range, and 100-plus MPGe?

Could the price be brought much lower if they could sell the value proposition and mass market it? Or, is there something missing in this equation?

The Escalade’s name came up in the interview, but Lutz’s logic could be applied to all gas guzzlers including those that are not triple the cost of the average new car price.

That’s probably good, because it will take some serious incentives to get the Escalade even selling as well as the Volt, and GM is discontinuing other variants as we speak, which is understandable.

If anyone objects to the Volt’s sales numbers – 2,633 in December and 23,461 for CY2012 – look the other way when you discuss the Escalade Hybrid numbers. In December it sold 90, and in 2012 708 happy owners took home their new Escalade Hybrids.

And, this is the way it was with all of GM’s Chevy and GMC hybrid trucks. Every one of these sold well under 600 units for the entire calendar year of 2012, so the real market for trucks is the conventional gas burners.
 

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Americans are not going out of their way to net a difference of mileage in the mid teens to mileage in the low 20s. But, what can we peg a fair selling price on an extended-range electric full-size light-duty truck? Or other larger marginally efficient vehicles?

Is Bob Lutz onto something here or does he have a conflict of interest or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

We won’t touch that one, but one could say the idea of electrifying larger vehicles does cater to a mentality of not trying to wean Americans away from them, but simply makes them closer to as efficient as smaller ones.

However it is a fact that saving fuel for the least-efficient vehicles is worth more than making a fuel miser more miserly. Lutz has made this point in marketing VIA trucks before, so it is little surprise to hear what others might think is throwing the Volt under the bus – or is that throwing it under the VIA truck?

Your thoughts?

AutoCar via InsideEVs via James.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 94


  1. 1
    AZ EV Driver

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (6:23 am)

    He has some valid points, however the Volt matches up much better with what the “normal” consumer actually needs on a daily commute basis. I think it might come down to market volume. How many $80k Escalades would sell versus the $40k Volt? What might make more sense would be to target more around the middle of the market of mid to full size sedans (Malibu, Impala, etc.) and smaller crossover SUV. My Volt is nice, but a little on the small side. I more often hear comments like “well I have X children and I need more room”. The Escalade has the room but is way too expensive for big market penetration.

    The core for trucks is still the commercial market, so an effort to convince fleet operators to adopt the Voltec concept could be beneficial. It has to make financial sense for success.


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    Dave G

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (6:35 am)

    For GM, it may make more sense to start with work vehicles, particularly vans and minivans.

    The average customer doesn’t seem to look at cost of ownership. They just look at the sticker price or monthly payment. By contrast, if you tell a company that they’ll save X dollars a year in fuel costs, and maintenance costs will also be lower, they’re more apt to listen.

    The average Escalade buyer is looking for a status symbol, and would probably be less interested in yearly fuel and maintenance costs. I don’t think a plug-in would increase the Escalade’s status appeal.

    For the average customer, the MPV5 probably makes a lot more sense. Many car buyers need a little more space for people and/or cargo. That’s why CUVs are so popular. For example, the founder of this site, Lyle Dennis, traded in his Volt for a Ford CMax Energi because the Volt was too small for his family.


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    Dave G

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (6:45 am)

    AZ EV Driver: I think it might come down to market volume. How many $80k Escalades would sell versus the $40k Volt?

    The Volt is closer to $30K after typical discounts and tax credits, but again, this seems to be lost on the general public. The difference between $30K and $40K has a huge impact on market volume.

    If the tax credit was changed to an up front tax rebate, and included in the sticker price, plug-in sales would be much higher.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:02 am)

    Maybe the take home point from the two projects is that electrification seems to work well in large or small vehicles, which bodes well for the future electrification of personal and commercial transportation.


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    Dave G

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:18 am)

    Eco_Turbo: Maybe the take home point from the two projects is that electrification seems to work well in large or small vehicles,

    Depends on what you mean by “works well”.

    The info we have seems to indicate that VIA’s large EREVs are very expensive. This may work well for a small company that retrofits existing vehicles, but it probably wouldn’t make sense for mass production.

    Also, there’s the issue of interior space. The battery has to go somewhere. For a work van, they could probably give up some space inside, but for a passenger vehicle, that would be a much harder sell.


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    GSP

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:39 am)

    AZ EV Driver:
    ……What might make more sense would be to target more around the middle of the market of mid to full size sedans (Malibu, Impala, etc.) and smaller crossover SUV.My Volt is nice, but a little on the small side.?..

    This is an excellent idea and I hope GM makes an Impala/SUV EREV platform, and also continues with the Volt hatchback. The Volt is perfect for me for everyday driving. A larger car or AWD CUV would make a great second vehicle. I am spoiled and must have an EREV powertrain to even look at a car now.

    Actually the Ford Energi Fusion/CMax are exactly this. I still want 40EV miles or more and more luggage space than the Fords have. (did I mention that I am spoiled? :-) )

    GSP


  7. 7
    Bobc

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:42 am)

    Hmmm the numbers don’t seem to bear Bob out. While it makes logical sense, it does not make good marketing sense without higher government incentives. If anyone here saw who kill the electric car documentary the then administration was giving out significantly higher tax incentives for small business and tradesmen to buy these huge gas guzzling SUV’s and trucks. While Bob’s proposal make perfectly logical sense my feeling is that it would not be as effective withou up to $20,000 in tax incentive which is similar to what the government was giving back in 2000 to buy gas guzzling SUV. Small businesses and tradesmen are more bottom line oriented than your typical automotive consumer. There is less emotion involved and cost of ownership becomes a huge factor but so does time to economic recovery and depreciation schedule. A more favorable target for electrification would be motor homes and short and long haul trucks. Long haul truckers can spend up to $160,000 on a customized canb. Replace the V8 and big 6 cylinder diesels with small 6 cylinder diesels no transmissions 2 traction motors with a reduction gear for heavy loads. 35 Kwh generator on the back of the diesel, 30kwh of battery power and you could probably raise the long haul fuel economy trucking average from 8 mpg to 30 mpg. What would that do for the national economy? Solar cell topped trailers would increase efficiency that much more. What returner eye would like a roaming self sustains motor home for $150,000?


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    Mark

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:42 am)

    Bob has a good point, but the volt is here now and proving that the tech works. The real question is what Should be next. An electric version of an SUV makes sense. Maybe not one as large as the cadi, but an SUV that you could pug in would be a hot seller.


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    Mark Z

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:43 am)

    The frustration is that GM has the hybrid as an optional model for the Escalade, so dealers don’t order it 100% of the time. Every Escalade needs to be an E-REV so the enjoyment of electric drive will occur for everyone who purchases the vehicle.


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    MrEnergyCzar

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:01 am)

    Well, he is trying to sell big trucks now….. I hope Via makes it…

    MrEnergyCzar


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    Nelson

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:08 am)

    IMO, GM is dragging its feet on the Voltec platform. I understand three year real world exclusivity for the Volt and Ampera are valuable but announcements of other variants should have been made at the recent car show along with the ELR intro. Voltec make sense across the entire line. Different battery sizes and ICE make for varying performance and pricing. I guess GM just lacks the boldness to do it.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    kdawg

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:22 am)

    This was my post to Lutz on the insideev’s site

    Message to Mr. Bob:
    It’s not one or the other. Electrify as many vehicles as you can and spread the cost. Give people more options/configurations to choose from. Those smaller cars you say, “don’t use gas anyway”, have saved over 6.5 million gallons of gas so far, and this is just regarding the Volts sold in the US. These Volts and other EV’s continue to save their owners 100′s of dollars every month as well. And do not look past the smooth/quiet ride of an EV, less maintenance cost, and instant torque off the line. These things are important no matter what size the car is.


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    kdawg

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:26 am)

    Dave G:The info we have seems to indicate that VIA’s large EREVs are very expensive. This may work well for a small company that retrofits existing vehicles, but it probably wouldn’t make sense for mass production.

    Also, there’s the issue of interior space. The battery has to go somewhere. For a work van, they could probably give up some space inside, but for a passenger vehicle, that would be a much harder sell.

    Mass production = lower cost

    Tesla figured out where to put the battery (and GM did years earlier w/the skateboard concept)


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    kdawg

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:33 am)

    Mark Z: The frustration is that GM has the hybrid as an optional model for the Escalade, so dealers don’t order it 100% of the time. Every Escalade needs to be an E-REV so the enjoyment of electric drive will occur for everyone who purchases the vehicle.

    Or at least you would think they would start throwing E-assist into everything. Don’t even make it an option, just standardize it (like they did on the Regal).


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    kdawg

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:38 am)

    OT: early in the thread (sorry), but I saw this last night and I’m waiting for the push from big oil lobbyists to say li-ion batteries are not safe, and try to kill the EV again.

    Boeing’s Dreamliner fleet grounded by faulty batteries
    http://news.techeye.net/business/boeings-dreamliner-fleet-grounded-by-faulty-batteries

    Here’s an article that even mentions the Chevy Volt

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/boeing-dreamliner-faa-battery-idINDEE90G03B20130117

    - Lithium-ion batteries can catch fire if they are overcharged, and once alight they are difficult to extinguish because the chemicals produce oxygen. But Boeing said it designed multiple systems to prevent overcharging, contain a battery fire and siphon smoke away before it reaches the cabin.

    - Similar batteries are used in the Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric car built by General Motors Co (GM.N) and other electric cars, satellites, laptops, cell phones and other electronics. The technology was first used in electronics by Japan’s Sony Corp (6758.T) in 1991.


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    joe

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:50 am)

    With the experience of the EV-1, GM did the right thing to bring out the Volt first. It really was expected that sales of the Volt would be slow at first, when it was introduced to just a few states. But, today is the time to come out with gen 2 and start introducing the technology to the bigger vehicles and keep the momentum going. The question is, why is GM taking so long for Gen 2? Consumers will start losing interest. GM, get with it!


  17. 17
    James McQuaid

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (9:09 am)

    Alan Taub who was Vice President of Global Research & Development, left G.M. last April. Taub had opposed what Via Motors has succeeded in doing as being impossible:

    “With battery technology as it currently stands, extended-range vehicles that are larger than the Volt – luxury saloons, trucks and SUVs – aren’t really possible; they would simply be too heavy to be efficient. For those types of cars, fuel cells and biofuels are the future. Ironically enough, the ER-EV powertrain won’t really package in a much smaller car than the Volt, either. So expect them all to be between four and five metres long.”

    Under Taub G.M. developed CNG bi-fuel trucks, these are now just coming to market.

    Eventually, the Voltec powertrain will be available in a variety of vehicles. The commitment of Dan Akerson and Mark Reuss to Voltec, coupled with Via Motors’ success, ensures that.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (9:10 am)

    joe: why is GM taking so long for Gen 2?

    The event horizon for model re-designs is generally 5 years. And that’s if the platform is spread over several different cars. Since Volt came out in (very) late 2010 as a 2011, I expect v.2.0 to be a 2016 model. Although there is some buzz that 2015 MY is the target.

    It may be that ELR *is* the 2.0 platform. However, there are articles out there suggesting that 2.0 will be a clean sheet re-design.

    As far as Lutz… I think that ‘electrification’ is inevitable for all light vehicles. Whether it’s eAssist or Voltec (or 2-mode or something new) you can’t escape the reality that motor-assisted ICE is the near future with full on EV coming very soon.

    I also think that ‘plug-in’ is a stepping stone to wireless designs. Like it or not, most car owners would see plugging in every day/night as more difficult than filling up once a week.


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    Tim Hart

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (9:15 am)

    If the Volt was a Buick instead of a Chevy, nobody would be complaining about the price. The reality is the Volt is worth every penny it costs. It’s comparable to any other car in its price range for driveability and is less expensive to drive and maintain than even the least expensive econo-box. It’s kind of sad Bob seems to be changing his tune concerning the Volt but he is right about the big gas guzzlers needing EREV the most.


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    lousloot

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (9:55 am)

    I disagree. A lite little car uses just a little amount of juice — so can go farther on a given amount of energy so needs a small pack. Not that expensive.

    Trucks carrying huge battery packs — cost too much. Until the pack cost ($/kwh) goes down, this is just not cost effective vs Diesel.

    Why are electric motorcycles catching on?
    How many Diesel/electric trains are hybrid? I know there is some work going on — but i don’t think any.
    Any 18 wheelers hybrid?

    Saying that GM made the wrong decision with the VOLT is just plain wrong, and nutty… i just wish they had kept the cost below 35k so I could afford it.

    Wait, Maximum Bob is selling lage electric pickup trucks… HMMM. I will take a pinch of salt with that coolaid.


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    unni

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (10:23 am)

    This ‘nonsensical’ idea left GM naked when toyota did a home run with prius.

    He is forgetting GM had 2 mode hybrids when they were competing with HSD on prius.


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    ewiggins

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (10:28 am)

    I don’t think the people buying big gas guzzlers are open to buying into a new vehicle architecture.
    I believe GM did it right by starting with a small compact new car.


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    James McQuaid

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (10:41 am)

    apply the Voltec formula to the Cadillac Escalade – which some say is a symbol of conspicuous consumption and alternately this can be seen as a point of pride or others see it as courting wretched excess.

    I don’t think the people buying big gas guzzlers are open to buying into a new vehicle architecture

    We are going to get the Via SUV in two or three years, and we will keep the Volt forever. There is nothing wretched about a Voltec SUV.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (10:58 am)

    In so far as going from 15mpg’s to 30mpg’s saves more money than going from 30mpg’s to 60mpg’s, I agree with Lutz. That’s about it.


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    Kent

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:07 am)

    I thought the original concept behind the Volt was to build a car for the majority of the people who, on average, drive less than 40 miles a day, that was supposed to be between $25K – $30K. How the heck is an electric Escalade a car, at a cost of approx. $80K, a car for the masses?

    Whereas I don’t completely disagree with Bob’s logic, most people don’t need a huge SUV for a daily commuter. I came to my senses and realized I didn’t need my Explorer V8 and Hummer on a daily basis so I got rid of them for my Volts. No regrets whatsoever!

    I think the more logical solution is to build a EV for the masses, get the economies of scale going, and then focus on the larger vehicles that will need the larger and heavier battery packs.


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    realdb2

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:18 am)

    I don’t follow Lutz’s logic. He seems to think electrifying larger, less fuel efficient vehicles has a quicker ROI for the owner in the form of fuel savings. But that depends on the sale price delta. Sure you will save more going from 18mpg to 70mpg instead of 25mpg to 70mpg but you might need to recoup a bigger sale price delta.

    Two other things Lutz may be overlooking: 1) buyer behavior of truck/suv buyers is different than passenger vehicle buyers and 2) passenger vehicles has a larger potential market in terms of units sold.


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    stuart22

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:22 am)

    This whole issue is being blown out of proportion by writers like Eric Loveday of InsideEVs who apparently have it in for GM. These guys look for opportunities to spin negative vibes on GM and people important to them as Lutz has been and still is.

    Lutz is correct, but his is also off the mark. Fact is, there’s several ways to skin a cat. It’s all comes down to what motivates a particular consumer, and EVs offer different motives to different consumers.

    Bob, the hardened conservative he is, is speaking for his bretheren who are among the most vocal naysayers of the Volt as being little more than a dolled up $19k Chevrolet Cruze and therefore is a bad investment because it is way too expensive and will take way too many years to recoup the cost difference between it and the Cruze. Lutz is simply responding to this mentality, and is correct that the payback on an EREV Escalade would be an easier sell to his cocktail hour buddies than the payback on a Volt.

    Where Bob is off the mark is with those consumers motivated by other factors besides payback – the ‘green’ factor…. the freedom from oil factor…. the high-tech geek factor…. etc. etc. People like me who feel all these benefits are worthy paybacks of my hard-earned dollar being spent on an expensive compact car. The fact that I knew I’d be saving $$ on fuel was icing on the cake, and made it easier to justify the deal.


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    Dave G

     

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:24 am)

    kdawg: Mass production = lower cost

    It’s production volume that lowers cost, and that doesn’t happen right away. That’s where temporary tax credits come in.

    Bobc: While Bob’s proposal make perfectly logical sense my feeling is that it would not be as effective withou up to $20,000 in tax incentive…

    Right. A larger vehicle would require a larger battery, and so a larger tax credit to get the ball rolling. I agree that taxpayers probably wouldn’t support larger tax credits for big SUVs.

    kdawg: Tesla figured out where to put the battery (and GM did years earlier w/the skateboard concept)

    That would require a completely new chassis. For example, the Volt shares much of it’s chassis with the Cruise, except for the T-Shaped hole for the battery.

    My point is this: If you have a totally new chassis, then your costs go up, at least until that chassis is selling > 100,000 units per year.


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    BlackSun

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:31 am)

    Lutz has never “gotten” the real reason for electrification: reducing emissions. He’s still one of those stubborn conservatives who haven’t accepted the fact that our current energy arrangements are far, far out of line with a sustainable livable Earth for future generations.

    Every argument against EVs rests on the availability of falsely cheap gasoline which does not pay for either its carbon emissions when it’s burned, or the increasingly filthy production from tar sands and in deep water.

    Electrification from a cost perspective would make sense for *every* vehicle if the true externalized non-subsidized cost of petro fuel (between $10-$15/gallon, or more) were considered. These numbers are widely mocked simply because US industrial and military policy have been solidly behind continuation of the petro business model for the entire lifetimes of nearly everyone alive today. But we are reaching the end of the viability of this arrangement, and sooner or later, ‘theoretical’ carbon costs will become ‘actual’ costs as drought, wildfire, and superstorms continue to bash the US, and as we continue to pay more than ordinary attention to multi-trillion dollar conflicts in an area of the world we would otherwise be unconcerned about.

    And this does not even mention the nearly fait accompli of the Keystone pipeline, locking the US into decades of investment into a mode of supporting our transportation through the bleeding gaping wound in the Earth that is Fort McMurray, Alberta. This is a disgrace, a blight upon humanity, that we would even consider such an atrocity to continue business-as-usual.

    I suppose I’m one of those Volt owners Lutz derisively refers to has having a philosophical, religious or economic affiliation to EVs. Um, yeah. I actually want a livable Earth for my kids. Purchasers of ICE vehicles are asleep in this regard. They’re still thinking short term, and we can no longer afford their short-sightedness.

    I don’t know what to say to people who would even consider a non-hybrid Escalade for personal transportation.


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    haroldC

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:45 am)

    pjwood: In so far as going from 15mpg’s to 30mpg’s saves more money than going from 30mpg’s to 60mpg’s, I agree with Lutz. That’s about it.

    l don’t get your logic here …15mpg to 30 or 30mpg to 60..is the same …
    you cut your fuel cost in half….or you double your mpg…..
    l don’t think Lutz really said that…..
    haroldC


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    Charlie H

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:51 am)

    haroldC: l don’t get your logic here …15mpg to 30 or 30mpg to 60..is the same …you cut your fuel cost in half….or you double your mpg…..l don’t think Lutz really said that…..haroldC

    But cutting a $400/month fuel bill in half is way better than cutting a $200/month fuel bill in half.


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    Dave - Phoenix

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:52 am)

    I think Bob Lutz is wrong on this one…

    GM already tried starting with large vehicles/trucks for their hybrid rollout. We all know how “that” turned out. Even though the efficiency gains for hybrid trucks were more significant than for hybrid compacts, truck buyers were not willing to pay the “huge” premium…

    You just can’t deny physics and economics. Big heavy trucks will require a big and expensive battery to power them.

    While America would love a large truck with the same capabilities as the Chevy Volt, that vehicle cannot be delivered today at anything close to a reasonable price.

    We have to remember Bob Lutz is the spokesman for Via Motors now. His opinion is obviously affected by who his paycheck comes from…

    Electric and EREV trucks will be limited to the fleet world for the near future until significant price decreases can be made…


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:53 am)

    haroldC: l don’t get your logic here …15mpg to 30 or 30mpg to 60..is the same …
    you cut your fuel cost in half….or you double your mpg…..

    Let’s put some numbers behind that. Let’s say you drive 15000 miles per year:
    - At 15 MPG, that’s 1000 gallons, or about $3500 per year.
    - At 30 MPG, that’s 500 gallons, or about $1750 per year.
    - At 60 MPG, that’s 250 gallons, or about $875 per year.

    So going from 15MPG to 30MPG saves you $1750 per year, while going from 30MPG to 60MPG only saves you $875 per year.

    So obviously, if large EREV SUVs and pickups were priced competitively with their gas only counterparts, people would have a good reason to buy them. The problem is that large EREVs currently cost a lot more.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:55 am)

    unni:
    This‘nonsensical’ idea left GM naked when toyota did a home run with prius.

    He is forgetting GM had 2 mode hybrids when they were competing with HSD on prius.

    #21

    Right. +1

    This is is the same stupid argument they made when they spent all that money developing the “2 mode hybrid” instead of a Prius fighter. Result? “2 mode” sales in 3 figures while Toyota sells Prii by the tens of thousands.

    So right, Lutz is either shilling for VIA or just plain dumb. Or maybe both.

    In case it’s not obvious already, this whole BS argument really makes my blood boil. I had almost rehabilitated myself from Statik’s famous “Friggen Lutz” comments, but I’m right back there now.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Dave – Phoenix: Even though the efficiency gains for hybrid trucks were more significant than for hybrid compacts, truck buyers were not willing to pay the “huge” premium…

    Exactly. +1


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:59 am)

    BlackSun: And this does not even mention the nearly fait accompli of the Keystone pipeline, locking the US into decades of investment into a mode of supporting our transportation through the bleeding gaping wound in the Earth that is Fort McMurray, Alberta. This is a disgrace, a blight upon humanity, that we would even consider such an atrocity to continue business-as-usual.

    I suppose I’m one of those Volt owners Lutz derisively refers to has having a philosophical, religious or economic affiliation to EVs. Um, yeah. I actually want a livable Earth for my kids. Purchasers of ICE vehicles are asleep in this regard. They’re still thinking short term, and we can no longer afford their short-sightedness.

    #29

    Amen brother. Preach on! +1


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:01 pm)

    Dave G: Exactly.+1

    #35

    Exactly. +1


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:15 pm)

    BlackSun: Lutz has never “gotten” the real reason for electrification: reducing emissions.

    Emissions aren’t the most pressing issue. Peak oil is real. It has already started. When prices at the pump go up to $8/gallon, if alternative fuels aren’t in place, the economy will go down the toilet. When that happens, environmental concerns will go out the window.

    So energy independence has to be our first priority, otherwise we won’t have the financial resources to deal with anything else.

    BlackSun: Electrification from a cost perspective would make sense for *every* vehicle if the true externalized non-subsidized cost of petro fuel (between $10-$15/gallon, or more) were considered. These numbers are widely mocked simply because US industrial and military policy have been solidly behind continuation of the petro business model for the entire lifetimes of nearly everyone alive today.

    Actually, a lot of military hawks are starting to realize the true cost of gasoline. See here for details:
    http://www.setamericafree.org/saf_hiddencostofoil010507.pdf


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:18 pm)

    kdawg: Or at least you would think they would start throwing E-assist into everything.Don’t even make it an option, just standardize it (like they did on the Regal).

    I agree 100%. Add eAssist to every vehicle (including the new Corvette Stingray) so every GM vehicle owners gets a “taste” of hybrid power and better MPG, especially for those who drive in heavy city traffic. This also increases the average MPG.

    Then continue to apply EREV technology, while developing more BEVs, as in the Spark. As battery capacity and drive range increases, convert more to BEV until every vehicle is electric. I wish to see a full 400 HP and 600 ft-lb torque on a BEV Corvette some day!

    Raymond


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:27 pm)

    stuart22: Bob, the hardened conservative he is, is speaking for his bretheren who are among the most vocal naysayers of the Volt as being little more than a dolled up $19k Chevrolet Cruze and therefore is a bad investment because it is way too expensive and will take way too many years to recoup the cost difference between it and the Cruze.

    Wow.

    When I took the Volt in for servicing, they gave me a loaner, which happened to be a Chevy Cruise. I don’t want to be too negative toward other Chevy products here, so I’ll just say that the driving experience of a Volt is in a totally difference league than the Cruise. They may share some of the same parts, but they are totally different cars.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:36 pm)

    Side stepping here. Can you hold a company liable for selling a product that causes future generations problems? Companies that sold lead paint for instance have been restricted from doing so. If ICE only mode of transportation continues and oil never ran out wouldn’t CO2 and smog be destructive to human life in say 2113. Why are automobile companies allowed to continue to sell ICE only vehicles when they have proven other alternatives that release less CO2 and pollution? This issue is really up to the car buying public because too many Government leaders have forsaken the future of humanity.

    No-Plug, No-Sale!
    Volt#671


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:39 pm)

    Dave G: Wow.

    When I took the Volt in for servicing, they gave me a loaner, which happened to be a Chevy Cruise.I don’t want to be too negative toward other Chevy products here, so I’ll just say that the driving experience of a Volt is in a totally difference league than the Cruise.They may share some of the same parts, but they are totally different cars.

    I hope the driving experience of the Cadillac ELR is as much in a different league than with the Chevy Volt, so those ELR naysayers would not consider it as being little more than a dolled up Volt.

    I have driver Cadillacs and they were never the same as the similar-bodied Chevrolets.

    Raymond


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:39 pm)

    Dave G: Wow.

    When I took the Volt in for servicing, they gave me a loaner, which happened to be a Chevy Cruise.I don’t want to be too negative toward other Chevy products here, so I’ll just say that the driving experience of a Volt is in a totally difference league than the Cruise.They may share some of the same parts, but they are totally different cars.

    I have rented Cruzes on business trips. I agree.

    The Cruze feels like the economy compact car that it is and feels nothing like a Volt…

    After a few days of renting the Cruze, I can’t wait to get back home and drive my Volt…


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:41 pm)

    Dave G: Emissions aren’t the most pressing issue.Peak oil is real

    So energy independence has to be our first priority,

    I’ve been listening to Texas preach peak oil for 5 years now and it just ain’t happening. Now we have , in addition to tar sand oil, dirt cheap natural gas.

    ….and when it comes to global warming a friend of mine had some very true words:

    “No one is listening”

    Our planet is on a crash course with extinction of many species…..most notably the HUMAN species.

    The ironic part is that the human species is too stupid to figure it out.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:43 pm)

    Charlie H: But cutting a $400/month fuel bill in half is way better than cutting a $200/month fuel bill in half.

    For who…the guy that can afford a $90,000 vehicle ?
    haroldC


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (12:51 pm)

    Raymondjram: Then continue to apply EREV technology, while developing more BEVs, as in the Spark. As battery capacity and drive range increases, convert more to BEV until every vehicle is electric.

    I truly believe this plan will never work.

    Pure BEVs have inherent limitations for longer trips. The 2 solutions proposed are:
    – Extreme fast charging
    – Battery swapping

    Extreme fast charging won’t work for safety reasons. To be competitive with existing liquid fuel filling stations, you would need to charge at 500,000 watts. No fast chargers today are anywhere near that. When you put 500,000 watts over a wire connected to a car with ice or snow dripping all over, there is no way to make that safe.

    Battery swapping is safe, but unless everyone drives the same car, it will never make sense economically. EV batteries are large and heavy. Different car styles will require different battery shapes. Battery swapping stations won’t be able to stock this many battery types and still be profitable.

    In my mind, the solution with the greatest chance of success is a combination of EREVs and bio-fuels.

    Many people bash bio-fuels because they can’t completely replace gasoline. With my solution, they don’t have to. With the Volt, we’re already driving 62% on electricity. Over time, incremental EREV improvements will drive that percentage up around 80%, leaving only 20% that has to be addressed with liquid fuels.

    Cellulosic ethanol can replace up to 35% of our gasoline consumption easily, without any affect on our food supply. So together, EREVs and bio-fuels can replace 115% of our current gasoline consumption.

    That’s a 100% sustainable, carbon neutral solution, all using our existing infrastructure of home electricity and liquid fuel filling stations. What’s not to like?


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:07 pm)

    George S. Bower: I’ve been listening to Texas preach peak oil for 5 years now and it just ain’t happening.

    The global recession delayed it. If/when the economy picks up, watch oil prices soar.

    George S. Bower: Now we have , in addition to tar sand oil,

    Tar sands are essentially scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    George S. Bower: dirt cheap natural gas.

    I don’t see us running out of natural gas anytime soon. Peak oil is the issue.

    George S. Bower:
    ….and when it comes to global warming a friend of mine had some very true words:
    “No one is listening”

    If you’re a salesman, and your product isn’t selling, you should consider selling something else…


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:19 pm)

    Dave G:

    If you’re a salesman, and your product isn’t selling, you should consider selling something else…

    Or change your sales technique.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:41 pm)

    Dave G,

    Thanks for the link, Dave G! I guess the $10-$15/gallon price is being acknowledged more widely than I thought. “Energy Independence” and global sustainability are really the same problem, looked at from different points of view. And the same solutions will help solve both of them.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:43 pm)

    George S. Bower: Or change your sales technique.

    Touché. +1


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:50 pm)

    BlackSun: “Energy Independence” and global sustainability are really the same problem, looked at from different points of view. And the same solutions will help solve both of them.

    Exactly.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:51 pm)

    Bob’s view is far too superficial. Yes, if you were to convert X number of vehicles to EREVs with no consideration of cost or ability to actually sell them, then yes, converting big gas guzzlers would be better.

    But we live in the real world, and not only are most truck-like owners unwilling to pay the premium or appreciate the total cost of ownership issue, the premium is going to be much larger than something like a Volt (larger battery, larger electric motor, etc, etc).


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:54 pm)

    Dave G: The global recession delayed it.If/when the economy picks up, watch oil prices soar.

    The coming wave of oil fracking might continue to delay it for a while.

    While this is blasphemy in some political circles, we really should be taxing gas more in this country, as well as other sources of emissions. It’s only fair to try to cover their actual total cost.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    Dave G: Extreme fast charging won’t work for safety reasons. To be competitive with existing liquid fuel filling stations, you would need to charge at 500,000 watts. No fast chargers today are anywhere near that. When you put 500,000 watts over a wire connected to a car with ice or snow dripping all over, there is no way to make that safe.

    I don’t think you give this technology enough credit. I think a 250kW charger would be MORE than adequate and they have ones now that are 100kW, and many 50kW ones. There’s technology/checking circuits to prevent power being applied until a safe connection is made. And you can make the connections IP67 (not sure if their current ratings). Don’t forget inductive charging technolgy is still progressing. Little pads are providing 3.3kW. Wait til they have inductive coils that cover the entire bottom of the car (similar to Tesla’s battery).

    Plus, who are we talking about here when most people charge at home, basically just people driving across the country. Maybe that’s the time to rent a gasser, which a lot of people do anyway because they don’t want to put the miles on their car.

    I don’t know when this technology will be available, but it’s not impossible physics, just an engineering challenge at this point.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (2:06 pm)

    “What do you think an Escalade would go for via VIA Motors? Would it be a deal at, say, $89,900 or into the $90s or more? Would it be worth it as a series hybrid with 40 miles all-electric range, and 100-plus MPGe?”

    100+ MPGe? Really? And 40 EV miles? Yeah, maybe with a 40-50 kwh battery.

    The Escalade is a huge, heavy, inefficient automobile. Lutz is talking about putting batteries in it, not changing the laws of physics.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (2:21 pm)

    Zod: While this is blasphemy in some political circles, we really should be taxing gas more in this country, as well as other sources of emissions. It’s only fair to try to cover their actual total cost.

    The former head of GM proposed a floor tax. For example, if we had a $3/gallon floor tax on gasoline, then whenever gas prices fell below that, the government would add taxes to get it back to $3/gallon.

    This would do 2 very important things:
    1) Send a clear signal that the days of cheap gas are over
    2) Encourage investments in alternative energy

    The first point can’t be overstated. Many people are still acting as if gas prices were under $2/gallon. Setting a floor would wake many of these people up.

    The second point is more subtle, but probably more important. Back in 2009, when gas was around $1.50/gallon, investments in alternative energy vanished, and companies went belly-up. Let’s put it this way: Would you invest part of your retirement account in a cellulosic ethanol company, knowing that gas prices could again fall to $1.50/gallon? Would you invest if you knew gas would never go below $3/gallon?

    As for the amount of taxes collected, a floor tax probably wouldn’t produce much, but that’s not the point. The idea is to promote efficiency and alternative fuels, without creating a huge new tax burden.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (2:22 pm)

    Bob’s AutoCar’s comments seem inconsistent. For openers, plug-in’s, marketing wise, are a whole new kettle of fish. In this market, the customer is no less than lower part of the upper middle class, better informed, better educated and a home owner. Obviously buyers need to have access to power at home or work. That alone distinguishes this market segment.

    Secondly, no way would an Escalade plug-in have validated the EREV concept compared to the absolutely blazing success VOLT engenders. VOLT stands alone. Just read the daily commentaries right here. Whereas, Escalade buyers fall into a fractional market niche. Boiled-down, a typical (if there is such a thing) Escalade buyer (particularly EXT) have the wherewithal to buy (or lease) just about anything they want.

    Why are we talking about Escalades? Here GM wins car of the year — the Cadillac ATS, with a Ward’s one of ten best engines the turbo 2.0, along with the 2.4 and a 3.6, all brand spanking new. All the the WOW!! EREV ELR. Is there a better statement that GM knows its way around fuel efficient propulsion?

    I wish Bob the very best with VIA. (I watched VIA’s single-trapeze duet imported from SF to Detroit Auto Show on the internet TV streamer Tuesday — quite a show)


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (2:24 pm)

    I’ve been in love with the volt since the very beginning. Even before this website existed. Did I buy one when it was time for a new car, no. I did not have a job at the time. Still, we got a 2010 Jeep Patriot and we love it.

    The seating position, the ride height and the price were our only 3 concerns. Our second choice was the KIA Soul. Now would I have paid an extra 10k for a Voltec version of the Patriot, hell yeah!

    Bring them on!


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (2:26 pm)

    NOW he tells us. Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    What’s funny is that Bob made the SAME argument about why two-mode Escalades and pickups made more sense than something like the Prius. Maybe they did but nobody wanted to buy them, and now two-mode is deader than a doornail.

    I think that consumers most interested in EVs are not going to be drawn to huge vehicles. The Volt and ELR may be too small but the new D2XX platform that allows for slightly larger Voltec vehicles and a CUV will produce vehicles that consumers want and will pay for.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (2:45 pm)

    kdawg: I think a 250kW charger would be MORE than adequate …

    To be competitive with existing liquid fuel filling stations, you would have to fast charge a large SUV with a 300 mile electric range in 10 minutes. That requires around 500kW.

    kdawg: … they have ones now that are 100kW, and many 50kW ones. There’s technology/checking circuits to prevent power being applied until a safe connection is made.

    I’m a EE, and I’ve heard it all before. You’ll never convince me. The connection may indicate that it’s safe to begin with, but after 500kW starts flowing, if a little ice melts and causes a short, things will vaporize. Things like fingers and hands.

    20kW can be made safe. Maybe 50kW. But 500kW, no, this can’t be made safe, especially when average consumers are making these connections.

    kdawg: Don’t forget inductive charging technolgy is still progressing.

    I don’t know as much about this, except that there are losses in the electric->magnetic->electric conversions. At 500kW, I suspect there may be other issues with stray magnetism affecting human physiology.

    In any case, I truly belive that the combination of EREVs and biofuels has the greatest chance of success, since this essentially requires no new infrastructure for fueling.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (3:04 pm)

    Jeff:
    “What do you think an Escalade would go for via VIA Motors? Would it be a deal at, say, $89,900 or into the $90s or more? Would it be worth it as a series hybrid with 40 miles all-electric range, and 100-plus MPGe?”

    100+ MPGe?Really?And 40 EV miles?Yeah, maybe with a 40-50 kwh battery.

    The Escalade is a huge, heavy, inefficient automobile.Lutz is talking about putting batteries in it, not changing the laws of physics.

    These are exactly the performance numbers Lutz and VIA have been pitching for other similar class GM based LD trucks.

    It has nothing to do with changing the laws of physics and if Tesla can pack 85 kilowatt-hours into its S, the big frames of the trucks have room for the ESS also.

    From his (linked above) interview with Autorcar:

    “The first Via truck is expected to go on sale in mid-2014, using an electric motor coupled to a 402bhp 4.3-litre V6. It will travel 40 miles on electric power alone and is expected to cost twice the price of a conventionally powered equivalent.”

    The 100 MPGe figure we’ve written several times before quoting VIA claims since Lutz came on board and started beating the band for VIA.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (3:15 pm)

    NOW he tells us. Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    LMAO, Don. I love that evil laugh.


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    evil conservative

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (3:22 pm)

    Bob has a point but ….

    The VIA truck has everything that I want and need except I can’t seem to wrap my head around why it costs $30,000 – $50,000 more then a New GMC truck?!?! IF GM could ‘Volt’ a full size truck like VIA is doing for a $10,000 premium they would sell a couple hundred thousand trucks a year. You could easily make up that premium in 4 years compared to a 20 MPG truck. My truck gets 13 MPG so I could do it in 3 years based on $4 a gal. gas.

    Talk about saving some serious oil …. ‘Volt’ full size trucks and SUV’s and watch the oil usage slow big time.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (3:31 pm)

    DonC,

    “What’s funny is that Bob made the SAME argument about why two-mode Escalades and pickups made more sense than something like the Prius. Maybe they did but nobody wanted to buy them, and now two-mode is deader than a doornail.”

    You are right …. why would anyone pay a $4000 premium to get a couple MPG’s? (Bob’s point) However, If you can get 100 MPGe I think GM would have customers lined up around the block IF the premium cost made economic logic. Going from 20 MPG to 100 MPGe makes total sense ….. for the right price.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (3:39 pm)

    Dave G: The global recession delayed it.If/when the economy picks up, watch oil prices soar.

    Tar sands are essentially scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    I don’t see us running out of natural gas anytime soon.Peak oil is the issue.

    If you’re a salesman, and your product isn’t selling, you should consider selling something else…

    Agreed… Fracking is like trying to get one more use out of your shampoo bottle by poring water into it… Tar Sands is “literally” scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Plus both fracking and tar sand oil are expensive to produce and rely on high oil prices..

    Peak Oil is still an issue, Globally we still consume oil at a rate where global production is having trouble keeping up. All the savings from shale and tar sand oil is being offset by increased demand globally. In other words… Kiss cheap oil goodbye…


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (3:43 pm)

    evil conservative:

    The VIA truck has everything that I want and need except I can’t seem to wrap my head around why it costs $30,000 – $50,000 more then a New GMC truck?!?!IF GM could ‘Volt’ a full size truck like VIA is doing for a $10,000 premium they would sell a couple hundred thousand trucks a year.

    EC, GM couldn’t even “Volt” the Volt for $10,000 (more like $15,000+), so there’s no way they could do a full size truck with twice the battery and much larger electric motor, etc. Maybe someday. Now throw in that Via is a 3rd party and you can easily get to $40,000+.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (4:04 pm)

    Bob seems to ave forgotten his own wild card in all this. See, this weird thing happened last year in the auto industry…Chevy sold 25,000 Volts. You know, the much criticized, politicized, demonized Volt. The end result is 25K of us out there driving around, educating others, showing them our Volts, explaining (ad nauseum) how they work…basically, tipping the scales a little more every day. In another 12 months, even if sales stay flat, there will be over 50,000 of us out there. This consumer exposure cannot be underestimated (think of it as social networking with a car) – once the weird factor is overcome, watch out. Flash mob indeed.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (4:37 pm)

    Dave G: Let’s put some numbers behind that.Let’s say you drive 15000 miles per year:
    - At 15 MPG, that’s 1000 gallons, or about $3500 per year.
    - At 30 MPG, that’s 500 gallons, or about $1750 per year.
    - At 60 MPG, that’s 250 gallons, or about $875 per year.

    So going from 15MPG to 30MPG saves you $1750 per year, while going from 30MPG to 60MPG only saves you $875 per year.

    So obviously, if large EREV SUVs and pickups were priced competitively with their gas only counterparts, people would have a good reason to buy them.The problem is that large EREVs currently cost a lot more.

    But Bob’s trucks go from 15mpg to 100mpg saving most of the fueling cost. At least that’s the VIA koolaid.


  69. 69
    Loboc

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (4:50 pm)

    Dave G: Extreme fast charging won’t work for safety reasons.

    You don’t really need extremely fast charging for almost every EV application. For the commuter, even 300 mile range is way too much. Heck, my wife drives 300 miles in a MONTH.

    If you consistently need 300 mile range, you are not an EV or even EREV customer imho. You’re not even a compact car customer as they are too uncomfortable and too small to be a 300-mile-per-day high-speed-highway vehicle.

    The sweet spot will continue to be normal people that drive less than 60 miles per day. 40 miles per day is the target audience for Volt. That’s probably more than half of the 15M cars sold every year.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (4:56 pm)

    Dave G: The former head of GM proposed a floor tax. For example, if we had a $3/gallon floor tax on gasoline, then whenever gas prices fell below that, the government would add taxes to get it back to $3/gallon.
    This would do 2 very important things:
    1) Send a clear signal that the days of cheap gas are over
    2) Encourage investments in alternative energy

    People are protesting again in Michigan. *Ironically* our Republican governor wants to raise the gas tax to pay for our sh*tty roads. Michigan is already ranked 7th in the country for the highest gas tax. I’m all for raising the gas tax. Raise it 50 cents, if it was up to me. The gov also wants to raise registration fees. I think this penalizes people like my mom who drive 3000 miles/year on surface streets, yet they have to pay more for roads they never use. And of course the oil lobby immediately protested the gas tax raise saying this is not the solution to fix the roads. How predictable.


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    Loboc

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (5:02 pm)

    Dave G: To be competitive with existing liquid fuel filling stations, you would have to fast charge a large SUV with a 300 mile electric range in 10 minutes. That requires around 500kW.

    To be competitive with liquid fueling stations, you car has to be ‘full’ when you need to go somewhere. This is completely within the realm of today’s technology when 80% of people drive < 40 miles per charge (day).

    This whole 300-miles-range straw man argument needs to go away. No EV needs that much range to be competitive with a daily-driver ICE car.


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    Focher

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (5:28 pm)

    Anyone buying or still driving an Escalade or similar vehicle at this point for personal use probably doesn’t give a crap about 1) the financial impact on themselves or 2) the environmental impact. I really doubt they would pay a price premium to have an EREV version of their vehicle.

    You go where the volume is. Most people buy and drive mid-size cars and small SUVs. Electrify those and you have a bigger base to amortize the costs (thereby keeping the acquisition cost lower) and it becomes easier to move the needle on the emissions side.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (5:39 pm)

    Loboc: This whole 300-miles-range straw man argument needs to go away. No EV needs that much range to be competitive with a daily-driver ICE car.

    I’d agree if people were rational. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be. LOL


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    Sean

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (5:56 pm)

    An MPV5 SUV would make since after all imagine a 60 mile AER and another 240 miles for gas/ethanol or if ever possible but I doubt it?

    Clean Diesel.

    Who agrees with me!


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (6:04 pm)

    Loboc: To be competitive with liquid fueling stations, you car has to be ‘full’ when you need to go somewhere. This is completely within the realm of today’s technology when 80% of people drive < 40 miles per charge (day).

    This whole 300-miles-range straw man argument needs to go away. No EV needs that much range to be competitive with a daily-driver ICE car.

    I agree 100%. This one reason why the Chevy Spark EV with its 70+ mile range will be the best of the small EV on the road. It definitely fulfills my needs for size and range, since I live in a city.

    As battery capacity improves, the Spark EV could reach a 100 mile range in a few years. Few drivers travel over 100 miles in a day. But for city drivers, one weekend change will be enough for the rest of the week.

    Raymond


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (6:21 pm)

    Dave G: I’m a EE, and I’ve heard it all before. You’ll never convince me. The connection may indicate that it’s safe to begin with, but after 500kW starts flowing, if a little ice melts and causes a short, things will vaporize. Things like fingers and hands.
    20kW can be made safe. Maybe 50kW. But 500kW, no, this can’t be made safe, especially when average consumers are making these connections.

    I’m an EE too, and deal with 480V 200A circuits everyday. Guess i’m used to these #’s and they don’t frighten me much. Don’t get me wrong, I do respect the potential energy. (think if all cars were EV’s and you were trying to pitch gasoline to them. “Hey try this car out. You put this flammable liquid in there, and if you get a small static spark the whole thing can explode!. Don’t worry, it’s safe, I promise) Ice melting and causing a short would not be an IP67 seal.

    They better be able to make 50kW systems safe, since they are selling them.

    I like this one because it *trickle* charges at 20kW at a possibly lower price, and can deliver 50kW.

    http://www.evcollective.com/charger/BB50KW.html

    and this one from the same company puts out 160kW.
    http://www.evcollective.com/charger/UF.html

    uf3.jpg


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:33 pm)

    Bob Lutz got it wrong when he was in a position to make such decisions and he is still wrong. The vehicle to start on is no longer made for the civilian market because it was so bad. The Hummer. Why? one, because you can probably get the DoD to pay for most if not all of the R&D and initial debugging during implementation and two, because there are a lot of people willing to pay stupid amounts of money for them.

    And the problem is CO2 emissions. And not just because as a green house gas it may kill us all first. We know that we will all be dead before it is less than ~5%, about 100 times the current atmospheric level. And it is currently growing at about 4-5% per year. So natural gas will just kill us slower than coal.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:37 pm)

    George S. Bower: Our planet is on a crash course with extinction of many species…..most notably the HUMAN species.

    The ironic part is that the human species is too stupid to figure it out.

    #44

    Alas, God’s truth. +1


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    Charlie H

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:40 pm)

    Noel Park: #21Right. +1This is is the same stupid argument they made when they spent all that money developing the “2 mode hybrid” instead of a Prius fighter. Result? “2 mode” sales in 3 figures while Toyota sells Prii by the tens of thousands.So right, Lutz is either shilling for VIA or just plain dumb. Or maybe both. In case it’s not obvious already, this whole BS argument really makes my blood boil. I had almost rehabilitated myself from Statik’s famous “Friggen Lutz” comments, but I’m right back there now.

    That sounds eerily like me.

    Someone once said, “remember, the product Bob Lutz is selling is always Bob Lutz.”


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    Charlie H

     

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:46 pm)

    George S. Bower: I’ve been listening to Texas preach peak oil for 5 years now and it just ain’t happening. Now we have , in addition to tar sand oil, dirt cheap natural gas.….and when it comes to global warming a friend of mine had some very true words:“No one is listening”Our planet is on a crash course with extinction of many species…..most notably the HUMAN species.The ironic part is that the human species is too stupid to figure it out.

    Actually, we are very unlikely to go extinct, we are the most adaptable species there is on the planet.

    However, I can see where civilization would collapse.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:46 pm)

    Loboc: At least that’s the VIA koolaid.

    #68

    Yeah, heavy on the koolaid, LOL. +1


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:48 pm)

    Dave G: For example, if we had a $3/gallon floor tax on gasoline, then whenever gas prices fell below that, the government would add taxes to get it back to $3/gallon.

    #56

    Better make it $4.00. We’ll never see $3.00 again in our lifetimes IMHO.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (7:53 pm)

    Charlie H: That sounds eerily like me.

    #79

    Well even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Referring to myself of course, LOL.

    Charlie H: Someone once said, “remember, the product Bob Lutz is selling is always Bob Lutz.”

    You got that right. +1


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    Kup

     

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:06 pm)

    Dave G,

    Dave,

    While I think you are heading in the general right direction, I think you are off on your dollar figure. Here’s a good website to help people understand what various countries pay for gas.

    http://www.mytravelcost.com/petrol-prices/

    Cross referencing this list with the largest economies you see:

    US $3.37
    China $5.49
    Japan $6.30
    Germany $7.91
    France $8.31
    Brazil $5.24
    UK $8.16
    Italy $8.81

    So since peak oil is merely a fact of existence (a finite resource will, by definition, peak in production) then to tackle the problem we must come up with solutions that address it. A floor price is one way to do it but to argue that it could be set at $3.00 is misleading, IMO. To be effective it should be established at some target rate (perhaps at the average of the 8 largest economies) and gradually raised until we get to that point. That would have the effect that you desire.

    I tend to favor merely increasing the gasoline tax in an incremental fashion over the next 10 years or so. There are so many externalities associated with gasoline/oil consumption that the free market is massively under estimating the true costs of its use. If you want to off set the gas tax increases with other tax credits, I would be open to that discussion because I’m not really interested in increasing the scope of the federal government.

    But the main point, if you want to argue a floor price, is that we should be looking at closer to $5 or $6 a gallon floor to have the impact that is likely necessary. Of course, most people don’t understand the basics of peak oil and are uncomfortable with this type of analysis but reality isn’t pretty and we are living in an historically unique period of time that we, collectively, fail to appreciate.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (8:24 pm)

    Charlie H: Actually, we are very unlikely to go extinct, we are the most adaptable species there is on the planet.

    That’s good we will need to be!


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    Jeff

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (9:29 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: These are exactly the performance numbers Lutz and VIA have been pitching for other similar class GM based LD trucks.

    It has nothing to do with changing the laws of physics and if Tesla can pack 85 kilowatt-hours into its S, the big frames of the trucks have room for the ESS also.

    From his (linked above) interview with Autorcar:

    “The first Via truck is expected to go on sale in mid-2014, using an electric motor coupled to a 402bhp 4.3-litre V6. It will travel 40 miles on electric power alone and is expected to cost twice the price of a conventionally powered equivalent.”

    The 100 MPGe figure we’ve written several times before quoting VIA claims since Lutz came on board and started beating the band for VIA.

    If you really wanna believe that VIA can make an Escalade (or, for that matter, any modestly-sized pickup truck) that will have a battery pack large enough — and heavy enough — to do 40 all-electric miles, and have it be MORE efficient than a Volt or a plug-in Prius (100+MPGe) …

    Well, then I just don’t know what else to say. It’s a free country. Believe whatever you want.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (10:38 pm)

    What makes even more sense is to electrify your already paid off gas guzzler, but maximum bob wont tell you that cuz he dont get paid to sell conversion units.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 (10:42 pm)

    Found a company making 200kW quick-chargers.

    http://www.bassi-srl.eu/en/products/it/products/8-stazioni-di-carica-rapida.htm

    “EV fast charge stations – A complete suite of DC fast chargers, available in a broad power range, from 5 kW to 200 kW.”

    And here’s a 400A connector that is rated IP67. (and this is from 2010)

    400A @ 800V = 320kW

    http://ev.sae.org/article/8916

    Amphenol Industrial offers a compact, lightweight connector series designed to eliminate bulky and space-consuming cable glands on motors, ac/dc inverters and converters, and other high-amperage equipment. The ePower 400A connectors are rated to 1000 V dc and feature integrated EMI shielding. The IP67-rated ePower family of connectors is specifically designed to meet the demanding needs of modern electrification programs in high-voltage and high-amperage applications such as power converters, hybrid-electric vehicles, heavy equipment electrification, two- and three-phase motors, and starter generators in the military and aerospace markets. Incorporating Amphenol’s RADSOK contact system to achieve higher current ratings, the connector series also lowers temperature rise and contact resistance, as compared to other contact methods, according to the company. RADSOK technology, an electrical terminal based on a hyperbolic grid configuration, enables lower insertion forces than standard contacts for easier mating.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jan 17th, 2013 (11:54 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    The ironic part is that the human species is too stupid to figure it out.

    Not only that, have you seen how most of them drive?


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    Jan 18th, 2013 (1:11 am)

    Jeff:
    “What do you think an Escalade would go for via VIA Motors? Would it be a deal at, say, $89,900 or into the $90s or more? Would it be worth it as a series hybrid with 40 miles all-electric range, and 100-plus MPGe?”

    100+ MPGe?Really?And 40 EV miles?Yeah, maybe with a 40-50 kwh battery.

    The Escalade is a huge, heavy, inefficient automobile.Lutz is talking about putting batteries in it, not changing the laws of physics.

    Again, it is VIA, not I who put these numbers out there:

    http://www.viamotors.com/powertrain/

    QUOTE VIA MOTORS:

    “Nowhere to plug in? No problem. VIA’s VR150 electric generator delivers enough power to recharge batteries quickly and efficiently while driving. The 150 kW electric generator also provides exportable power for the work site and can power your entire home in an emergency.
    Designed for how we drive

    With 40 miles of battery range, most drivers won’t burn any gas in a typical day. Driving 50 miles in a day, 40 miles on batteries and 10 miles with the help of the range extender, the typical driver would average about 100 miles per gallon in gas fuel economy…”

    END QUOTE

    ###

    My purpose is to give entertaining as possible, factual, and accurate articles for my friends at GM-Volt to read and discuss.


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    Jan 18th, 2013 (2:32 am)

    At the end of a vigorous day of telling and debating – I’d say I toss my two cents Bob Lutz’s way.

    VIA cannot make a truck-based SUV, fullsize cargo van or truck EREV that is affordable – GM can.
    I agree with posters who predict GM could sell 200-300,000 EREV trucks per year easy – for $45-50,000 depending upon packaging. VIA paved the way – it wouldn’t take years to place batteries
    between the frame rails.

    Ford broadsided GM with it’s “surprise” introduction of the Atlas F-50 concept, ready to roll.

    Fullsized trucks are an American domain. Even Toyota’s humongous Tundra lags behind
    at fourth place behind RAM ( Chrysler/Fiat or, Fiat/Chrysler ). GM has settled into this
    second place spot for a decade while Ford leads the charge! We’re talking millions of
    units here – stretched out by truck based SUVs and vans.

    ( Plug In ) POWER TO THE PEOPLE! ,

    James


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    Jan 18th, 2013 (2:46 am)

    We seem to be asking the wrong questions. Fleets are not the reason
    fullsized trucks outsell all other models 2-1. Americans are hooked on
    large vehicles for all sorts of reasons – it’s literally ingrained in us now.

    Instead of asking, “will people buy a big truck for $50,000?”, just look
    around you – THEY ALREADY ARE. Between MyFordTouch and heavy
    duty packages…Ford and GM run up the price – QUICK. Many here
    seem to think when gas is $4.00/gal. people won’t pay more for
    100 MPGe in a truck? I completely disagree. I KNOW THEY WILL.

    The better question that should be on all our minds is – “WHY IS GM
    NOT PUTTING VOLTEC INTO FULLSIZE TRUCKS AND SUVS?”

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jan 18th, 2013 (2:50 am)

    GM, your new Colorado midsize pickup is due out soon. Surprise us
    with an EREV version with 20 mile AER – and market it for $30,000.

    A Turbo 4 cylinder range-extender would be perfect. A V-6 for
    heavy duty.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Charlie H

     

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    Jan 18th, 2013 (9:57 am)

    James: We seem to be asking the wrong questions. Fleets are not the reasonfullsized trucks outsell all other models 2-1. Americans are hooked onlarge vehicles for all sorts of reasons – it’s literally ingrained in us now.Instead of asking, “will people buy a big truck for $50,000?”, just lookaround you – THEY ALREADY ARE. Between MyFordTouch and heavyduty packages…Ford and GM run up the price – QUICK. Many hereseem to think when gas is $4.00/gal. people won’t pay more for100 MPGe in a truck? I completely disagree. I KNOW THEY WILL.The better question that should be on all our minds is – “WHY IS GMNOT PUTTING VOLTEC INTO FULLSIZE TRUCKS AND SUVS?”RECHARGE! ,James

    They won’t pay. If they suddenly care about fuel economy to the point where they want to save money, they’ll buy a smaller truck or a more fuel-efficient car to go with it.

    This is especially true in SUVs, where, for example, a Tahoe owner can downsize to a Traverse essentially without penalty but save money on the purchase and get better fuel economy.