Letterman to Lutz: Did You Kill the Electric Car?

In an interview a few weeks ago with CEO Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, Letterman called out the Chevy Volt and the two fellows had quite the little chuckle. Naturally, Bob Lutz of GM had to return the serve. He sat down with Letterman last night, and in true diplomatic fashion, fielded Letterman’s questions with the grace of a man who’s spent a long time rehearsing. He stuck to his official position and left admirably unscathed.

Letterman goes at Lutz straight away with mention of the EV1 and the “Who Killed the Electric Car?” discourse. Lutz launches in with “Batteries weren’t ready yet…cost a lot…unable to sell…” etc. What we need, he says, is a battery that will store enough energy, and in the meantime, here’s the Volt which runs on a battery until it poops out, then switches back to gas. So why then is there still no all-electric vehicle from GM? Lutz cites the cost and availability of lithium ion batteries, and jokes that GM “can’t survive doing $100,000 cars.” Nevermind those $100,000 Tesla cars are a small operation, and perhaps costs decrease significantly in full-scale production? And with that logic, we are back to where we started with the EV1. Cue the girls and the Volt (not readily available until 2011) and exit stage right.

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