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Why the Chevy Volt should have been a truck

Posting in Transportation
Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors, thinks that automotive companies made a big mistake with their electric vehicle strategy.

Instead of developing the first consumer EVs as cars, like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf, companies should have developed electric trucks, vans, and SUVs. Here's why, according to a Seattle Times interview with Lutz:

We started at the wrong end. The whole automotive industry made the intellectual mistake of thinking EVs were all about maximum range, so we all started with small vehicles that are basically very economical anyway. Yes, you do save fuel. You can use a smaller battery, but it makes less sense to take a 40 mpg vehicle and make it electric than it does to take a full-size pickup or SUV, which in town realistically gets 11 to 12 mpg. If you take that to 100 mpg, now you’re really saving money and saving a scarce natural resource and reducing CO2 emissions drastically.
The idea here being that the economic savings from larger vehicles would have been more enticing to consumers than the fuel savings of owning a smaller sedans that are already relatively efficient. 

And while Lutz can't roll back time and release an EV truck before a car, he'll be able to test his theory that the savings of electric trucks will be a strong draw for consumers.

Lutz is now on the board of VIA Motors which is turning trucks, vans, and SUVs into extended-range electric vehicles, with the first two vehicles going into production later this year.

Read more: Seattle Times


Photo: Flickr/NRMA New Cars

Photo: Wieck

— By on January 6, 2014, 4:53 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure