Bob Lutz is keeping up his vocal support for the coming age of the electric vehicle. Speaking to students at the University of Michigan College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship, he said something that most AutoblogGreen readers are likely to agree with (unlike his comment that global warming is a crock): it will be "gradual,: but the electrification of the automobile is inevitable.

The former vice chairman of General Motors said that he expects EVs to sell between one and two million units a year in the U.S. by 2022. Sure, that's quite a range, but it does put plug-in cars at something between 6 and 16 percent of the expected overall market at that time, which some analysts seem to think is quite low (UPDATE: math has been corrected).

Addressing the students directly, he said, "The future is electric, but gasoline will be around for the foreseeable future. That's a future that, any way you slice it, looks a lot of brighter to me for the folks like you." The future looks bright for the Chevrolet Volt, too, he said. Lutz may have made a recent attack on the right-wing attacks on the Volt, but he now says that even though it is too bad the car has become a "political punching bag," he believes "that too shall pass. The Volt will survive and justifiably become a landmark vehicle."


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  • 33 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bob hasn't changed. It's a no brainer. It's going slow now because EVs are too expensive, too small, have limited range and ICE vehicles are dam good and getting better very quickly. The ICE isn't going out without a fight. Once the initial cost of EVs is equivalent, and energy storage systems carry more range, people will quickly move into EVs. He recognized long ago that the "Man caused global warming" was a hoax. Less and less people are buying that left wing crap every year.
        marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        @Harlanx6, Just because the more extreme and alarmist global warming/climate change claims have proved politically motivated and lack an appreciation of the scientific basis, it doesn't follow that "man made climate change" is a hoax ! You are confusing the singers with the song! The true science of climate change is neither left nor right, "political crap"! It's scientific fact! There is wide room in the scientific community for debate as to the proportions, and the consequences of climate change pollution, but no one (well no one rational) can advocate that wanton industrial pollution is beneficial ! As in most causes, the loudest and least tolerant voices are from those who lack any real knowledge of the cause and distort it to seek power or a place they can act out their personal psychological disorders. But that doesn't mean the cause lacks validity. Climate change is very real, and although scientists may debate about the details, we all have a duty to look after our bio-sphere.
          Mark Schaffer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          So James Hansen doesn't know the science of climatology?
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          @Mark Schaffer James Hansen is a brilliant scientist. But as an equally brilliant scientist, Physicist Freeman Dyson observed. "The person who is really responsible for this overestimate of global warming is Jim Hansen. He consistently exaggerates all the dangers... Hansen has turned his science into ideology.” . Extremism of any kind, detracts from the validity of the cause in the public mind. The general public have, thank goodness, learned to be wary of extremist, simplistic solutions to complex questions. I have met Jim Hansen, and heard him speak. No one could doubt his sincerity, nor his knowledge in certain areas of expertise. But his extremist activism, and intolerant cult-like followers behaviour, render his contribution negligible. This is sad, because he has a brilliant mind and a real contribution to make in his own field of expertise.
        founerra
        • 2 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Tesla Model S?
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't believe Bob Putz is still spouting off his mouth.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are you seriously expecting the US market to be at ~150 MILLION cars per year in 2022 ? If not, then Lutz projects more like 6-12% for plug-ins (for 15M market)
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        If ABG had written "total US passenger vehicle fleet", that would have been a lot closer to reality. There are a lot of non-EVs on the roads today, and it will take time for them to phase out, what with people keeping cars longer than ever.
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz is a man who has worked all his life in the auto-industry. Now that doesn't mean he's always right. or all his decisions have turned out to be correct. But it does mean he's been in the 'Captains Chair'. Today, Bob Lutz is still involved in green vehicle technology. He advises on EV production, helps finance EV R&D. and participates at corporate level as a consultant with several companies in the EV industry. Sadly, he is continuously abused by loudmouthed know-it-alls, who lack even 1% of his knowlege or experience. The famous "global warming is a crock of sh*t" comment was written by a journalist who never actually heard the remark, or the context in which it was said. By the journalist's own admission, the remark was said during a private luncheon conversation and repeated by someone who was there, to the journalist. Since then Bob Lutz has been forced to defend himself against hyterical attacks from GW proponents, the vast majority of whom have no real understanding of the science they castigating 'heritcs' for not believing in fervently enough in the ever changing mantra of climate change. The environmental movement, like EV's has attracted a lot of strange Zealots. These zealots have very little understanding of the complexity of the issues ( or the science) they rant about, but peddle a mixture of old-fashioned leftist philosophy, distorted science and conspiracy theories. Most seem to be suffering from a need to join a new religon, or cult, to compensate for personality disorders. That would be ok, but their outbursts and devisive fanaticism detracts from EV acceptance and support by the general community. IMO it's not important 'why', someone supports EV technology, just that they support it. There's no 'right' way, or 'right' people to support or purchase EV's, just as long as they actually purchase! That's all that matters! Bring your cheque book, and leave your politics outside!
        electronx16
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Yeah, those "loudmouthed know-it-alls" are insufferable! Most of them are such hypocrites that they don't even realize that' all the things they say about others apply to themselves! They just rant and rant and never stop ranting until they are content that all other opinions have been stifled! Those fanatics will devote their life to that! It's like thought police!
        Mark Schaffer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        How do you know what you know about climatology?
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mark Schaffer
          @Mark Schaffer Mark, that's the whole point! The vast majority of non-scientists,(and even scientists) can only read and analyse what those who study climatology publish. For those who are interested enough, a care study of the methodology of the collection of data is important. Often 'scientific' studies originate by accepting an older study(s) as a basis for extrapolation. These older studies, in turn may contain errors based on even older studies or conclusions. Thus the famous predictions by the Club of Rome, in the late 1960's were once accepted as "irrefutable facts" by a 'consensus' of intellectuals, scientists and a huge, (mostly leftist) following of fanatical supporters. But a decade later it was discovered that the "Stork hadn't passed the plough", in fact the world was suffering from a huge surplus of food production! The public also observes the demeanour of those asking for support, and judges accordingly. It's difficult for non-scientists to make informed judgements about science. But the public can tell when scientific theories become political demagoguery! In the majority of modern democracies, the citizens are vary wary of excited revolutionaries. Experience has has taught them that what comes after the revolution, is often worse than the status quo!
      Pandabear
      • 2 Years Ago
      The EV today is very different than the EV of the 90s. Back then the oil price is low, the technology is not ready, and there is none of the achievement in everything around the motor / battery that we see today to make EV easier to work with: electric power steering, lithium battery, cleaner electricity, instability in oil supply, HYBRID, etc. It is no longer a huge big jump going from V8 SUV to EV1, but rather a 4 cylinder Camry to Camry hybrid. We are getting there and consumers are asking for it.
      JeremyD
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why is everyone hating on Lutz still? Sure he said some things that SOME people may not agree with in the past, but now he is on the right track... why hold a grudge?
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JeremyD
        So true, I was once a petroleum ice enthusiast when I had no idea about the political, economic, human rights and national security problems with foreign oil. It took Bob a long time and a big loss to realized right from wrong: but better late than never there... He is on the autoblog green side and see's the win win win win win that EREV's offer. The volt is awesome if not a tad spendy for its size and performance... especially in light of the fact that GM paid less that $400kWh for the battery part...
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JeremyD
        Lutz has an opinion, and he's better informed about the industry than the average person. Putting down marker a for 1M to 2M annual sales is a good start, given that industry best ever sales in 2011 was only about 25k. Just getting people to think about selling 1M EVs annually helps push the needle.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JeremyD
        I think it's only nightflight that's outright hating. but Lutz still maintains global warming isn't real. that is deserving of some criticism given who he is and what he still does.
      wardialer
      • 2 Years Ago
      kinda like saying its gonna rain when the weather forecast said it would, dark clouds are converging above and its already drizzling. stay out of the sun bob, and enjoy your retirement responsibly. also... the logo on that truck. i thought VIA made chipsets for motherboards.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @wardialer
        Hey genius ... This is how Lutz is enjoying retirement and, no, VIA is not some chipset company: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VP7hUiLkSM&feature=youtube_gdata_player
      markrogo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sebastian, the U.S. auto market will be somewhere on the order of 20 million units in 2022. 1-2 million units is 5-10% of the U.S. auto market, not .6-1.6% of it. You confused a U.S. forecast and a global forecast.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's pretty well mangled, and with the interesting bits left out. From the link: --Said lithium-sulfur technology is about five years away from being integrated into vehicles while lithium-air technology is about 10 years away. --Projected that U.S. sales of electric vehicles would reach 1 million to 2 million within 10 years. That compares to overall annual vehicle sales of 12 million to 15 million. Aside from the issue of the percentage of production, that is the first time I have heard an industry insider say that they expected lithium sulphur batteries to actually be in cars in 5 years time. I disregard the bit about lithium air with a 10 year horizon, as in car terms that is so far out that it remains completely unfirm. However, 5 years is only just beyond one model-life away, and unless he is simply talking hot air would mean that GM are more or less on the point of actual production engineering for lithium sulphur as opposed to research. I don't really believe they are that far advanced, but it is an interesting comment and something to keep an eye on.
        electronx16
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Like some GOP politicians he also drank the cool aid on the oil industry's claims that oil and natural gas discoveries in the U.S. and Canada would make the nation “independent of foreign oil” within five years though, something that remains yet to be seen as new oil sources may have a hard time keeping up with the depletion rate of existing fields and accelerating global demand: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/has-the-united-states-beaten-peak-oil-not-so-fast/2012/02/17/gIQAhFbAKR_blog.html The “the self-serving right-wing talk show windbags like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dubbs" observation is interesting though coming from a guy like him.
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @electronx16
          "self-serving right-wing talk show windbags like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dubbs" is a spot on accurate statement : ^^ BL
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Proof that bad people can change for the better :) I am glad to see Bob on the EV front fighting the good fight. He should tell Newt the facts and share the enlightenment so the GOP candidates stop blurting out incompetent statements about vehicles and energy.... http://priusblack.blogspot.com/2012/02/people-change.html
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      I give credit to this guy for turning around and stepping out of the dark side.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        Nah . . . he is still quite the lug head on the oil market and climate change.
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          He says stupid things, but his current actions are all positive.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hm, too bad he does not work for General Motors anymore, and when he did, they were putting out cars like the Hummer. Just sayin. I'm glad the guy is coming around. Whatever he can do to shake up the hi-powered gas car crowd that worshipped him is OK by me. I don't think i'll see autoblog regular or Jalopnik posting on this tho... :)
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Autoblog regular posting here. Now.... :D
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        In fairness to GM (I know that's not allowed on ABG) they produced cars like the Hummer because it made them a boat load of money with minimal investment. Those profits helped develop cars like the Volt. Do you think Nissan developed the Leaf with profits from the Versa?
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Exactly right. That H2 was shared platform with the Chevy Tahoe, bringing cost well into line compared with the unique H1.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          That is like PETA hosting a massive barbecue to fund their operations. What they were doing obviously did them no favors since they got bailed out, i don't think selling the dirtiest, biggest cars possible until CAFE got raised and they got bailed out was part of the plan to fund the Volt. Whatever drug you are on, i want some.
          Unnikrishnan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          As per data 1998 GM started Hummer and 2009 ended ? So in that 11 years they made Huge money from them ? and 2009 where those money went ?
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