[ad#post_ad]The 78 year-old GM vice chairman and veteran “ultimate car guy” Bob Lutz will be retiring on May 1st after working in the auto industry since 1960 for Ford, Chrysler, GM and BMW. He is heralded as having transformed GM car design from the “angry kitchen appliances” of the late 90′s to what they are today. In a new exit interview with Aol Autos he spoke about the greatest accomplishment of his decades of work.
Lutz confirms that of all he’s done, the Volt is his proudest achievement.
He says this is true “for a few reasons, one of them being the new technology.” No cars he’s done before the Volt technologically broke new ground as the Volt does. ”In the field of alternative-drive systems it leapfrogs what has been employed by our Japanese competitors,” he says.
Lutz adds that more than just being groundbreaking, the Volt has flown in the face of naysayers, many of whom were quite vocal right here in the early days of GM-Volt.
“There was a lot of internal and external skepticism,” noted Lutz. ”There were a lot of naysayers who said it was BS, or that it was just PR, or that the lithium-ion battery would never work, or that GM wasn’t serious about this,” he said.
But now nearing the day of retail launch Lutz says “facing all that negativism, and ultimately triumphing with a car that has a good chance of making a major impact, is thrilling.” Indeed.
Lutz also admitted there was significant hesitation on the part of GM to actually move the car into production. Something this site hopefully helped thwart.
“It wasn’t just Rick Wagoner who was hesitant,” he said. ”It was the company’s entire automotive strategy board.”
“GM had been so badly burned with the EV1 that there very little desire to repeat that, and to experiment with a battery-powered vehicle,” he added.
Much of the push back came from senior GM officials who were enamored with hydrogen fuel cell technology.
“There was some resentment from the fuel-cell backers inside the company,” he said. ”Because I think they thought they would be the ones to transform the planet and get us off fossil fuels.”
But Lutz and the lithium-ion battery finally won out in what he called “internal competition.”
He continues his assertion that he does not believe in global warming, though said so less colorfully than he has in the past.
“I can’t really get into that too much as long as I am still gainfully employed by General Motors,” he said about his view on global warming, though noted “as time has gone by there are more people in the scientific community who share the same point of view I do.”
“The majority of the public right now does not believe that CO2 emissions from cars is the main source of global warming,” he added.
Lutz admitted his impetus for building the Volt was not to reduce emissions, but to reduce oil dependence, though government regulation also played a role.
“If the government and the EPA say we must curb CO2 emissions, I have to set my personal beliefs aside and do what is required. But reducing dependence on imported petroleum is also important to me,” he said.
“We also must look at fossil fuels as a finite commodity,” he added.
To read the entire Q and A including discussions about GM’s bankruptcy and Lutz’ other achievements go here.
Source (Aol Autos)