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Bob Lutz discusses competition with Toyota, the first "mules" with e-flex drives, the future look of the Volt and GMs commitment to producing the range-extended Electric Vehicle
Hank: This is Hank from ecogeek.org again and I am coming to you with more Bob Lutz

As I said in the last video, Bob is the vice chairman of General Motors, and he's a really important guy, and I got to talk to Bob about a month ago at the LA Auto Show.  And this question, asked by Lyle of GM-Volt.com, the premier Chevrolet Volt blog, got some very interesting responses out of Bob.  Once again, Bob.

Lyle:  Back in April or so, you had, uh, you were quoted as saying you were 90% confident that the car would be produced.  Now that several months have gone by, the batteries have been delivered, things like that, are you willing to change that number at all?

Bob: Absolutely.  I mean, we know a whole--we know a whole lot more now, and uh, I would say that General Motors is now totally committed to producing the vehicle. We have the first test battery packs.  So far, (?~0:54) tests, they're operating absolutely as the supplier said they would.  By the end of the year, we will have four battery packs, two from LG Chem and uh, two from Continental.  We are modifying a whole batch of uh, the last of the old Malibus, factory-fresh, (?~1:14) generation Malibus are going up on lifts and getting a whole underbody cut out, and they're getting a Volt underbody welded in.  To anyone who's in the media, I'd like to point out that Toyota, at the Tokyo Auto Show, held a sort of a seminar for the media on educating the media on batteries and types of hybrid drives, and I read the whole thing verbatim, and it basically boiled down to 'the only hybrid that will ever work is the Toyota Synergy Drive'.  The only series hybrid, which is what the Volt is, the only series hybrid that has ever worked are diesel electric locomotives, so if you want a fuel efficient vehicle with a good hybrid system, you only have one choice, you have to buy a Toyota Synergy Drive.  If, on the other hand, you want a series hybrid, uh, like, like, like the Chevrolet Volt, you're either gonna have to wait 10 years or you can buy a diesel electric locomotive, which is uh, a rare display of (laughter from audience) on the part of our major competitor.  In that same briefing, they said uh, that they had it on good authority, and I don't--I don't know what authority that is, we have no good authority at General Motors, um, they said they had it on good authority from somebody within General Motors that the first Volts that--or, the first (?~2:50) in Malibu bodies that we produce in the first quarter of '08 will only have a ten mile electric range, and that therefore, the whole thing's a scam and everything, so if I were a journalist, I would really be keeping my eyes on what happens in the first four months of 2008 when we have the first battery packs in running vehicles, and we will invite some of you, I don't think (loud laughter from audience)--some of you, to experience what I am convinced is going to be 40-45 miles of electric driving.  As we see it now, it's not the battery that's the (?~3:37), it's creating the entire vehicle, and um, I would also disclose that the final version of the Volt is not gonna look exactly like the concept car did, because the concept car, when we put it in the wind tunnel, it was a cruel disappointment, and, in fact, we probably woulda gotten a better drag coefficient if we put it in the wind tunnel backwards.  So, there has been--you'll still recognize it as the Volt, but it's gonna look a whole lot slipperier than the one that we all, uh, saw at the Automobile shows.  We're not only committed, but I am slowly coming to the conclusion, in fact, rapidly coming to the conclusion, that this, the Volt is a game changer.  I think it's the path of the future.  At some point, folks, it gets to the point where, with the best technology, with the best engineering in the world, you can't get there with conventional technology.  And I think the only, as we start discussing these extreme mileage standards, the only way out is to abandon conventional technology and go to an electric vehicle with an emergency assist from the piston engine like the Volt.  It is rapidly becoming the solution to an otherwise unsolvable equation.

Hank: I agree with you, Bob.  I agree with you!  That's so great.  As we move forward, we're gonna have to see where the Volt system takes us.  How many other range extended electric vehicles we can see on the roads and what versions and what types and what sizes.  This is really exciting stuff, I'm really glad that I've been around to see this develop, because I was there when they announced it, before I could even talk about it, that was pretty cool, and honestly, I'm gonna be the first person in line waitin' to get one of these cars, because it makes.  It's an electric vehicle for 90% of the trips you will ever take in your life.  It's like having a little electric vehicle and a nice sedan in your driveway at the same time, except you only have to have one car.  The third video in this series of Bob Lutz talking to a bunch of people in a dining room is about big ass hybrids, and you can see that video next in this series.

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