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Remember all the bravado that Bob Lutz unleashed when we got our first glimpse of the Volt back in early 2007? Lutz has been the car's biggest champion since then, but he's thinking that there could be some tough news coming soon for this kind of technology. While the Volt is not named in an interview with Lutz by the LA Times that was published last week (so don't go starting any rumors), Lutz was pretty clear-eyed about what the recent dip in gas prices could mean: "We may hate high fuel price

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Want to watch Lesley Stahl and Elon Musk tool around in a Tesla Roadster? If you missed the duo on 60 Minutes last night, you can still catch it online. The stalwart CBS reporter takes a 12-minute look at "The Race for the Electric Car." The piece starts out by talking the need for new battery technology, but then becomes a sort of personaity profile.

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For me, the highlight of the weekend's panel discussions at the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo was two guys just sitting around and chatting. The reason the hour-long freeflowing discussion between the men was so good was that they - Dan Neil (left in the picture above) and Ken Bensinger, both writers at the Los Angeles Times - were smart, funny and unafraid. Basically, it's what you want in a discussion of where things stand today in the automotive industry: two people calling it like they see it.

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Bob Lutz is a smooth talker. Trust us, we've seen it time and time again as he's been working on making the Chevy Volt a reality. Still, Stephen Colbert can fluster pretty much anyone, including GM's Vice Chairman of Global Product Development, and it's a lot of fun to watch. Lutz was on the Comedy Central's satirical comedy show The Colbert Report last night and had to pause a few times when the faux right-wing Colbert asked him surprising questions. For example, isn't the Volt just an admissio

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Ahh, the blogger round table. At GM's Centennial celebration yesterday, GM chairman sat down with a group of bloggers to talk about - what else? - the Volt. Lutz took questions about the car and gave a upbeat assessment of where the overall program is now; he didn't even knock wood when he said that the battery testing has not given them any problems - guess he's not superstitious. One thing that Lutz said would help GM sell more Volts would be government incentives, specifically $7,500 incentiv

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Now that we've seen at least a blurry vision of the Chevy Volt's exterior and a Photoshopped front end (above), how about hearing a bit more about the inside, specifically the batteries? According to GM's master of ceremonies vice chairman, Bob Lutz, the lithium ion battery packs that are powering the Volt mules around GM's test tracks are "performing flawlessly."

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Man, it's been almost five minutes without GM's vice chairman Bob Lutz has given a positive Chevy Volt update. We just heard from him over the weekend about the possibility of a 20-mile-EV-range version someday, for example. Today, speaking in Dearborn, Lutz said that "there's almost no reasonable doubt in our minds anymore that this is going to work." This, of course, is getting the Volt out to the public. We knew this has been GM's message for a while now, but according to Reuters, Lutz said t

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Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman and Volt booster, told Edmunds AutoObserver today that the Volt is achieving its 40 mile all-electric target in initial on-road testing. "It is reliably meeting its objectives," Lutz confirmed. "Even with a rough calibration, even with the wrong drive unit, the wrong body, etc. etc., it has been hitting its 40 miles on electric power."

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When GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz speaks, controversy usually follows closely behind. Unlike many high ranking executives Lutz often wanders off the defined script such as when he recently commented on global warming being a crock of .... I sure wouldn't want to be one of the PR handlers having to spin his words. In his latest chat with Detroit News columnist Manny Lopez, the electrification of vehicles was obviously front and center as it often is these days at GM. The EV1, of course, comes up and

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The Lutz has spoken yet again (imagine that!) and the subject once more is the Volt. This time it involves reversing some of the recent flow of machinery between Australia and U.S. GM's Holden division down under was tasked with developing a global rear wheel drive architecture for the company which has resulted in the recent launch of the Pontiac G8. According to Maximum Bob, the Australians will get a crack at the Volt a couple of years after it launches in the home market. As with all new GM

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A little over ten days ago, GM's Bob Lutz told us that the Chevy Volt would not be ready for media drives until July. While that announcement was slightly newsworthy because it signaled a small delay/shifting of the timeline. Whatever. The news that the lithium-ion-powered mules would still be on track to be driven at all was a good sign. Lutz has now confirmed to Reuters that those rides are still scheduled for July but then announced a delay of a different kind.

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According to Bob Lutz, General Motors has known how to make a hybrid for years, but held off of building one because they projected that they would lose as much as $250 million per year building them. What they hadn't counted on, though, was that a huge perception gap would grow in the public eye between GM's technological know-how versus Toyota's, a gap that would end up costing the company much, much more than $250 per year. So Lutz is now clear they won't make that mistake again. "We won't ma

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In commenting on the battle royal taking place on the testing benches at GM between two contending battery suppliers, "Maximum" Bob Lutz said Tuesday it was a "horse race. An apt analogy in a sense because the two teams, Continental Automotive Systems, using cells from A123 Systems Inc., and Compact Power Inc. who are using cells developed by its parent, LG Chem seem to be neck and neck in performance. No one has stumbled as the two sprint down the final stretch to the, oh, what's that? The fini

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At the ECO:nomics conference (March 12-14), GM chairman Bob Lutz was asked about his global warming is a "crock of sh*t" statement. In the video (which you can watch below the fold), Lutz was asked why he said it and if GM investors and customers should care that he said it. Lutz did not answer the why but he explained there are a "whole bunch of motivations for doing what we are doing." These motivations may include climate change, energy independence and conservation but the common denominator

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It seems every time GM Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz opens his mouth to speak, a news story is spawned. Sometimes however, there is less to the story than there appears to be. Case in point is the latest update on the Chevy Volt. Speaking in California, Lutz indicated that Volt mules (very early prototypes) would not be road tested until July. The thing everyone needs to realize is that vehicle development timing, especially on an all-new vehicle of this type tends to be very fluid. Schedules always ha

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Wall Street Journal blogs about GM CEO Rick Wagoner recent talk to reporters in Washington about GM chairman Bob Lutz's recent comment that global warming is "a total crock of sh*t." Wagoner backed away from the comment, saying that "the comments weren't coming out of the company" and "I would have preferred to pass on the comment." Wagoner didn't back away from Lutz, though, calling him "the clear leader of GM's push to develop extended-range battery-powered hybrid vehicles."

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While we all wait with baited breath to find out if the reality of the Chevy Volt meets up with the promise, many other non-performance related questions remain as well. Cost is obviously a big one. The goal is for the Volt to be a high-volume mainstream car and for that to happen it has to be affordable. Affordability affects both General Motors and end consumers. The price has to be low enough that lots of people can buy it. At the same time, GM has to be able to get economies of scale to brin

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