Liveblogging from the Management Briefing Seminar: Bob Lutz Speaks on the Volt
Bob will be taking the stage here at 9:30 am.
9:19 Bob is now on stage joking about a poker playing dog.
He's complaining about so-called experts using the phrase Detroit Dinosaurs and he's not happy about it. "Should we believe that all the domestic manufacturers are the same kind of dumb at the same time?"
GM is in a lot better shape than it was five years ago. The industry is on the cusp of radical change and GM has a head start on transformation.
continue after the jump Sales were down industry wide last month along with GM. GM is the fastest growing company outside North America. A decade ago 80% of global auto sales were in developed countries. Now it's at 62% and falling fast
North American turnaround is progressing. Productivity and supplier relationships are improving. Quality is much better. Buick is tied with Lexus at top of JP Power dependability survey.
New Cadillac CTS getting great reviews. Lambda crossovers are sold out.
GM thinks there are better ways to go forward than CAFE increases but they will play whatever hand they are dealt. Goal remains best possible fuel economy and as much choice as possible.
Four more hybrids coming this year including Saturn Vue/Chevrolet Malibu hybrid and two-mode Yukon/Tahoe. Unfortunately the two-mode hybrid is expensive. This is the only system that works on full sized SUVs. Even companies whose name begins with a T can't do it.
Over 100 fuel cell Equinoxes going to customers this fall.
Company wide commitment to producing Volt and other E-Flex vehicles. We've heard the story already on the E-Flex but Bob is reiterating it right now. Volt is a Chevy because it's a global brand and Volt is being developed in both left and right hand drive versions.
Bob is trying to demonstrate a small radio controlled helicopter. The first one had a low battery. The second one works great. " The problem is landing it" He had a primary and backup helicopter and the remotes go confused. A single setup would work better. The little helicopter is equipped with a lithium ion battery. Lots of energy in the LiIon cell. Same tech in a pack with enough energy to power a vehicle forty miles would be great.
GM has reached agreement with A123 Systems to co-develop nano-phosphate battery cells for automobiles. A123 execs are on hand. GM and A123 will work to specifically develop cells for E-Flex. Not all lithium chemistries are equal. GM wants to better understand battery issues such as durability and thermal management.
Lutz is convinced that electrically driven vehicles are the next great paradigm shift. GM hopes the word gets out and critics start looking at the company with new eyes.
Bob is done for now. We'll be talking to E-Flex vehicle line director Frank Weber and battery development chief Denise Grey later this morning and we'll have more details.
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