Looking for the New Lutz

GM’s product czar Bob Lutz announced last week that he will be retiring at the end of the year. The green car world came to know Mr. Lutz as both the jet-flying, cigar-chomping disser of global warming and the forward-looking product chief who introduced the Chevy Volt. His role as Volt champion made him the unlikely affirmer of General Motors’s effort to reinvent itself as environmentally friendly.

In an interview with Tom Krisher of AP last Monday, Lutz bemoaned what he saw as a depressing new period of government oversight, one driven by the need for higher fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. Explaining how he felt that his abilities no longer fit the times, Lutz said that the new era “doesn’t really play to my greatest skills, which were perhaps more in the intuitive, emotional area with sort of a sense for what the market would want.”

Green? Lack of emotion? No, it’s not Lutz’s talent that is out of step. It’s his worldview.
Lutz epitomizes the “Old Detroit” in terms of ecological attitudes, a cohort of corporate leaders who rose to the top eerily disconnected from the parallel rise of environmental values in American culture.

Deep Denial

For whatever reasons, most US auto executives saw green only as inherently “anti-car” rather than as a chance to redefine the car for a new world that is very different than that of their formative years. Bill Ford was pilloried for trying, though he had his finger on the pulse of the future a good bit before it arrived to catch his peers off guard.

The Old Detroit zeitgeist remained in deep denial across the turn of the century even as Honda and Toyota brought practical hybrids to market, soon followed by 9/11, Arianna Huffington’s Detroit Project, mounting fears of the end of oil, melting glaciers in Lutz’s Swiss homeland, and then escalating—and last summer spiking—gasoline prices. All of those factors and then some will meld into the still unfolding but emotive formulas that define what sells in the years ahead.

In short, customer-oriented intuition is needed more than ever. However, it will have to be applied with a much different understanding of what the car can be. Thus, it’s not Lutz’s core skill that is passé. It’s his mind-set about what will be—indeed, is already starting to be—valued by a new generation of car buyers.

Throwing Technology at the Problem

Lutz himself seemed to get this when, remarking on the growing success of hybrids during the 2005 Detroit auto show, he said “We forgot about the emotional impact and the fact that a lot of people out there want to make an environmental statement.”

But the Volt also epitomizes the view that the solution to the environmental challenge is expensive new technology. Lutz is being succeeded by the GM’s executive vice president for global powertrain, Thomas Stephens. The Wall Street Journal writes, Stephens is “well-versed in what goes on under the hood, which is precisely where GM and other US automakers have to play catch up with some foreign rivals.”

Bob Lutz promoting the Chevy Volt—but dissing environmentalists—during his appearance on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.

A Lutzian Passion, For Green

While technology has a role to play—as it had for the muscle-car era—success won’t only or even mainly be found in the tech fix. The public relations blitz that GM has built around the Chevy Volt may reveal a glimmer of realization that some serious sales hooks might be colored green.

But it’s not yet clear that they’re connecting the dots, which critics point out may take a retooling of corporate culture much deeper than one futuristic product can provide. Lutz himself undertook at least the start of such retooling as he enlivened GM’s mainstream product strategy.

So, as Bob Lutz fires up his afterburners to smear one last exhaust plume across the evening sky, perhaps a new car guy (or girl) is being cultivated inside GM. That person might be tattooed and body-pierced, but will surely be well wired to the world around us. And if he or she has a Lutzian passion for product, the company will have hope for triumph in a new era.

This article was contributed to HybridCars.com by John DeCicco, senior fellow, Environmental Defense Fund.

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  • Bryce

    Lutz is an industry legend……old age has finally caught up with him it seems. This makes me think that one day Jerremy Clarkson will be gone from Top Gear…… : (

  • kerry bradshaw

    Looks like Lutz will still have his finger in the pot after he retires.
    The problem with green cars is that they have been atrocious
    failures at attracting anyone except the diehard (and mostly ignorant) ‘environmentalists’ (you know, the boobs who obstructed nuclear power for 40 years, thereby causing global warming). The major flaw in environmentalist’s world view is that they are blind to technology and insist upon using fraudulent arguments to defend indefensible technologies, like wind, or solar PV. Even their supposedly (technical) economic arguments in favor of wind and solar use as opposed to nuclear are preposterously invalid, using “rated capacities”, cherry-picking the highest cost
    nuclear plant as their “nuclear cost example,” and failing to account for the fact that a nuclear plant will last three times longer than either solar or wind. Or the fact that those green technologies have enormous side effect costs in a world where power demand is growing, along with peak demand, which those technologies cannot satisfy at any level. Environmentalists, in a word, are congenital liars. They have to be. Otherwise they would have no arguments at all, invalid or not. Global warming, which assumes that a 1% portion of a volatile system can dictatate 100% of future
    climatological events, is total lunacy. Environmentalist’s science is junk science. No wonder over half the population doesn’t believe in global warming.

  • Anonymous

    Re: Throwing technology at the problem – “But the Volt also epitomizes the view that the solution to the environmental challenge is expensive new technology.” Um, this coming from hybridcars.com… where throwing expensive technology (hybrid powertrains) at the problem is why this site even exists. The cheap solution would be really small gasoline engines in small cars with manual transmissions.

  • Samie

    Kerry Bradshaw

    Some extremely unsound arguments, for one you say

    “Environmentalist’s science is junk science. ” to cast a statement in those words are simple minded what is really going on here is you know that scientific data does not support your claim and this is merely a philosophical view that many express when they believe individualistic political ideas w/c often like to ignore collective problems or helping people beyond your little world. I would like you to stand in the delta region of India in say 70 years where millions live oh that’s right it will be under water so the point is you need to get beyond yourself. Is it easy to adjust to change, No its not and can cause prices to increase for everyone including poorer forks, that is when we move our economy to be more energy efficiency.

    As for nuclear stop one moment and think for yourself! Every alternative energy source has problems w/c I try to get people to think about w/c is extremely hard sometimes for people to not go beyond short term ideas or what market problems could arise.

    Nuclear, where do you store it? Nobody wants it, even in some remote spot in Arizona people are going crazy in trying to stop it. So lets store it in your backyard Kerry sounds good right? Second how does nuclear work, that is whats needed to cool the reactors? Oh that’s right its water ten points why is water a problem? Nuclear can take up lots of water w/c in some areas of the country due to drought or arid regions can not support the amount of nuclear plants many are talking about. So for your question you should say we should be spending more to develop reactors that use little or no water. Another question w/ nuclear is that its mostly supported by government dollars no nuclear power plant is paid w/ 100 percent of industry dollars and whats the price to build a nuclear reactor????? Start asking yourself questions instead of what it sounds like to me is your want to repeat what some talking head said on the radio.

  • babu flubber

    OK, I give up Samie,
    what is
    supposed to represent??

  • Anon Imus

    babu, I think Samie uses w/c in place of the word “which.”
    It saves time when he is typing out his nonsensical attack rants.

  • babu flubber

    Thank you Anon. I was leaning towards Wang Chung. Great 80’s band, but it doesn’t make sense when plugged into Samie’s rant. Are you sure it isn’t water closet, wheel chair or wound care? They also make no sense within the Samie rant, but that doesn’t necessarily exclude them…

  • Boom Boom

    Yeah, babu and anon, that crazy samie just rants about stuff for no reason…. did you read “bradshaw’s” post? That post is the rant. All environmentalist are “congenital liars”, now there is a well reasoned argument. “Environmentalist’s science is junk science”. Yes, that is why the only folks who don’t support the basic concept of global warming are coal/oil industry supported scientists.

    I appreciate your humor with the Wang Chung and all, but I gotta say that Samie’s response was pretty level-headed compared to Bradshaw. I think it would be fairer to call Samie’s rant a “defense rant”.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    I am sorry, babu flubber and Anon Imus, but I will have to agree with Samie’s statement, “Kerry Bradshaw, Some extremely unsound arguments, for one you say” and agree to some parts of Samie’s arguments. I must admit that I do not often agree with Samie, but if someone is right, he is right.

    Kerry Bradshaw states that environmentalist fail, “to account for the fact that a nuclear plant will last three times longer than either solar or wind.” What?!? Does Kerry Bradshaw know for a “fact” that the wind will stop blowing and the sun will stop shining forever in the near future? How did he come by these “facts”? And even if he is only saying that once a nuclear power plant is built, it requires only new fuel and relatively cheap upkeep, Samie is right in stating that the spent fuel storage is a massive and expensive problem that still has yet to be properly solved (key word here is “properly”). For the cost of a nuclear plant and the spent fuel storage for more than 50,000+ years, one can generate many new efficient designs, along with the making and repairing, of many wind generators and solar panels. And I have not even used the augment, and have no need to, of “rated capacities”.

    Kerry Bradshaw, you state, “Environmentalists, in a word, are congenital liars. They have to be. Otherwise they would have no arguments at all, invalid or not. Global warming, which assumes that a 1% portion of a volatile system can dictatate 100% of future climatological events, is total lunacy.” That is like saying that the 81mg aspirin that people take cannot possibly affect the massive human body in preventing heart attacks due to its size. And the doctors are wrong to look at the data that says so. And the doctors that do look at the data that say so are “congenital liars”. And, yes, carbon dioxide in 0.0384% levels by volume, along with other greenhouse gas, do control and dictate nearly 100% of future climatological events. Carbon dioxide and methane have increased by 36% and 148% respectively since the mid-1700s. This puts the levels considerably higher than any previous time in the last 650,000 years. This is from a Wikipedia site (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming):

    “Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation. Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005.[1][2] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that most of the temperature increase since the mid-twentieth century is “very likely” due to the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.[2][1] Natural phenomena such as solar variation and volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.[3][4] These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science,[5] including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.[6][7][8] While a small minority have voiced disagreement with these findings, the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree[9][10] with the IPCC’s main conclusions[11].”
    (Note: all citations can be found at the end of the Wikipedia site)

    Over fifty percent of the world’s professional scientists, not just the climatologists or environmentalists, now agree that mankind does contribute to global warming. I will concede that there is much debate as to how much mankind contributes to global warming, but one would have to be on a denial trip to ignore the facts.

    Of course, Kerry Bradshaw, you have the data to prove these tens of thousands (more likely hundreds of thousands) of scientists are wrong and are “congenital liars”, even though you rely on them to produce your new medicines and technologies. You do have the data, don’t you?

  • Gerald Shields

    I hate to say this, but this retirement isn’t a bad thing. Maybe Rick Waggoner and most if not all of the upper GM management and some of the BOD might want to retire too. 😉 Its time that GM gets some new blood or maybe get some people from their overseas operation (preferably someone who hasn’t been to Detroit) to run GM.

  • AP

    I agree with the author with Lutz being “out of touch” with this market. But being out of touch with a market that values the APPEARANCE of doing something about reducing fuel usage rather than RESULTS is a good thing. I guess I’m out of touch too.

  • babu flubber

    Honestly? I see good points in the Bradshaw post, and good points too in the Samie post. Now, if they could agree to disagree on some notions, find common ground on others, and do it all in a civil manner.

    Believe in and support your position. Have faith in what you know, and resist the temptation to present half-truths and supposition as fact.

    Lost Prius to wife? Be careful of overkill.

  • Samie

    Ha Ha 🙂
    To be honest I must say not knowing what short hand is seems worse than those who don’t believe in global warming. Doesn’t every kid in what 4-5th grade learn short hand? Maybe lots of small buses went to somebodies school? Oh well love it when you pose questions and all someone can do is come up with (w/) dumb comments in response.

    Rant maybe but not protecting environmentalist (oh here envr.) just trying to ask questions. Though I should not have posed the (some use T for the) political question becasue (bc. b/c) I seem to piss off those who don’t want to think for themselves.

    To all other comments sorry to focus on Kerry’s response but hey you can’t throw junk like that out without (w/o) any real logic or pose questions to be debated… Lutz was GM that is he was somewhat complacent slow to adjust to market conditions including labor and not in touch with reality but more his inter-circle. If GM changes the culture in their company & produces good cars like the Malibu they will get beyond the used car mentality that has hurt some of our domestic car companies for the last 20-30 years. Rant rant rant…..

  • sean t

    The prob. w/ Bob Lutz is that he can talk only. He can’t see and hear what is happening around. Good riddance.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Boom Boom, since some others doubt global warming, maybe they will please provide the data that refutes just the cited material in just the Wikipedia site on Global Warming. I have included it for your reference. I do not necessarily see Samie’s comment as a “defensive rant”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming , 134 references

  • Baltimore Prius Owner

    Sean T: You hit the nail on the head. Maybe now, for GM’s sake, there is hope. His departure is long overdue.

  • Civic Hybrid Owner

    It seems are showing up more and more on this forum to denigrate hybrids as if they are going to convince us to give up our hybrids and buy a hummer! They’re just throwing sand in our face. Ignore them.

    It never occurs to such people that global warming is not the only reason to drive a fuel efficient vehicle. My primary reason for buying a hybrid is I want to send less $$ to oil sheiks in the middle east. We’ve spent nearly a TRILLION dollars on Iraq and Afghanistan and it will probably cost another TRILLION to rebuild the military after we leave those countries. If we actually taxed gasoline enough to pay for these hidden costs it would be nearly unaffordable for the most Americans. Does anyone seriously believe we would have any interest in the middle east if they did not have vast quantities of oil? I for one enjoy only spending $15 to $20 a month on gas for my Hybrid. That’s less money for terrorist funding Saudis and Kuwaitis.

    And Nuclear power as an option? You do know that the US has more nuclear power plants than any other nation, including France, by a wide margin. We get some 20% of our power from nuclear power plants. The main problem nuclear power has had in the US is cost. It costs more per kilowatt than alternatives like coal, natural gas and hydro-power. And nuclear power requires substantial Federal subsidies to even get it in the ball park of coal. If these subsidies were removed wind power would be more competitive than nuclear energy.

  • sean t

    1. Consume less oil -> send less $ to the Middle East.
    2. Live in harmony w/ mother nature, because you cannot control it. You can only understand and live in it.

  • qqRockyBeans

    Why is it they can make a two-mode Tahoe truck but not a Two-Mode car?

    I’d like a Two-Mode Cobalt with a 5-speed and a sunroof

    Such a car would BLOW TOYOTA AND HONDA AWAY

    Good riddance, Lutz
    He is a disgrace to this country

  • Lost Prius to wife

    babu flubber, you may think it was overkill. Just think: this was just one very small article with a very small amount of references. I remembered this article from only a five minute previous search on the web on the subject. And this same search brought up both sides of global warming. It is just that the evidence against global warming is small, weak, and too opinionated compared to the body of evidence for global warming. Just think what I am able to find on global warming with a full blown search on the internet. Correction, just think what anyone is able to find on global warming with a full blown search on the internet.

    And yet Mr. Lutz and many other do not understand or believe in global warming. My hat is off to Mr. Lutz for thinking and pushing the Chevy Volt as a good thing. But his thinking is not in touch with reality if he is just doing it for one business sector of the car market for the competition and not for the world’s future. This differs from Toyota in the mid-1990’s. When the Toyota’s management and leadership said to produce a new car for the new century by 1997, the engineers were forced to produce the first generation Prius over many protests and long days and nights of work. Toyota’s management and leadership held the engineers’ “feet to the fire” and they came through. It does not sound like Mr. Lutz has instilled that kind of drive towards the future.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    sean t, although “Consume less oil -> send less $ to the Middle East” is a great idea, “consume less oil – leave more money in one’s own pocket” is even better from my point of view.

    And I must disagree, in part, with your second statement of “because you cannot control it.”

    The earth’s most abundant greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and CFCs in this order. The ranking of their “greenhouse effect” is water vapor (36-70%), carbon dioxide (9-26%), methane (4-9%), and ozone (3-7%). Clouds are the major non-gas contributor to the greenhouse effects and effects on the radiation properties of the greenhouse gases. Interactions between the greenhouse gases themselves and the non-gas contributors cause the variations in the percentages of effect. These gases, and their infrared properties, are the main reason that this earth of ours is habitable instead of a frozen rock with ice.

    Prior to the industrial age, the percentage of these greenhouse gases by volume, excluding water vapor, amounted to less than .03%. Now these same gases are approaching .04%, and if not controlled, will likely reach .05%. Water vapor has risen from ~3.8% in 1980 to nearly 4.8% in 2004 mainly due to methane. This .01% change in gases and >1% change in water vapor has all occurred within and because of the industrial age.

    And this .01% change in gases and >1% change in water vapor has resulted in these changes: a ~20 cm rise in sea level (~7.87 inches), a ~.7 degree C temperature rise, melting and melted glaciers, and no northern polar ice sheet for the last two years. The occurrence of no ice at the North Pole at all during the summertime has become a distinct possibility within our lifetime.

    These approximate 3% to 5% greenhouse gases by volume have a nearly 100% effect on this earth’s atmosphere. In other words, 95% to 97% of our atmosphere has no significant infrared properties and would allow our earth to be a frozen rock with ice. And the .03% gases have a nearly 50% effect on the atmosphere changes.

    And yet kerry bradshaw and others would have us believe that the ~30% change in gases and ~25% change in water vapor has no part at all in the present atmospheric changes.

    Although some of the things that happen in the atmosphere cannot be changed and are a part of the cyclic pattern of nature, the majority of the increases in greenhouse gas are caused by mankind. That is why I stated “and if not controlled” in my second paragraph. We do have some control of our future. And the less that we are dependent on fossil fuels, the better our and our children’s future will be.

    Hybrid cars are only a start, and a part, of that future.

  • sean t

    Lost Prius to wife,
    It may be down to how one understands the meaning of the word “control”.
    I agree w/ you that we have some control of our future but those controls are in fact to live/interact in harmony w/ nature based on our knowledge of it. In other word we control ourselves not to upset/destroy nature, we don’t control nature. Some disasters, you can do nothing, eg volcano eruptions, earthquakes, you just have good forecast and . . . run away from it, because you can’t stop them.
    Again, depending on how one understands “control”.

  • hybridgreg

    Well, this topic has seems to have hit a hot button of several people. I would like to add my two cents to this discussion. First, the data that has been flying around here is subject to scruteny. I will not waste a lot of time trying to dig into the rampant suppositions, but I will make some comments on the conclusions by pointing to some holes in this global warming debate.

    First, it seems that the term “Global Warming” itself has become a radioactive concept. Global Warming does not mean a road to the end of life as we know it. When you look at the last, oh say 70 million years or so (a time when the earth was much warmer than it is now), all of the animals on the land and sea were averaging 20 times the size that they are today. So, what were they eating? A warmer planet means more food to most, not less and aerable land increases dramatically during warm peoiods (as does the freash water supply)

    Also, this idea that the North Pole melting means much higher ocean levels that threaten to drown everybody is almost humorous.
    The North pole is all ice, not land. Go home tonight and fill a glass to the top with ice. Then, fill it with water until one more drop will cause it to over flow and come back in the morning. You will see that when the ice melts the water level goes down…not over flow the top, because ice takes up more volume than water. When added to the South Pole Ice (which does have land under some of it) the net gain is not that dramatic). The big losers will be polar bears ( sucks to be them). However, it will create a northwest passage for shipping that will greatly lower shipping cost and times around the world increasing productivity and trade.

    Next, this idea that the industrial era has seen significant rises in warming trends (about 300 years) was mostly based on thermometer readings. With out the use of good hybrid transportation (like we have now) it was found that most all of those readings were taken in cities (where it now warmer). When corrected for this obvious oversight, the warming since the industrial era was overstated by as much as 100%, a new comprehensive study has found.

    Next, everyone has seen that dramatic picture of that fisherman and the glacier in 1908, that now has receded back from a picture that was taken in the 1980s. Well, it appears that it is a normal occurance that glaciers shift around from one side of the pole to another. Much of the data that we have gathered on the poles was taken and analyzed during the cold war era. Half the data was missing because of the inability to complete studies on the USSR half of the poles. New,better studies that leave the politics need to be conducted before we all make radical changes in our lives.

    In addition, so-called pure climatologists, met in Italy in the 1960’s to warn everyone that the planet will cease to exist in the late 1980’s because of global warming and shifts in temperature. They met again in the 1970’s to declare that it would occur in the 1990’s. In the 1980’s, they met again to say that it would occur at the turn of the 21st century. Their track record on this issue so flawed that most people realize that these predictions are worthless and mostly based on political agendas, rather than pure science. Just look at who is the head of this global warming thing Al (the automobile is the worst invention in all of mankind) Gore who rides around his private jet buying ” carbon off-sets” from his own company and suggesting that he does not pollute.

    Now, think about this. If you look at the history of our planet, going back hundreds of millions of years, we have an ice age on average about every 10,000 years. Life on earth gets harder for life during the cold periods, not the warm periods. So, Let’s do our part prevent another ice age and don’t worry so much about warming trends (as unconfirmed as they seem to be). In fact, most mass extinctions have had little to do with events that small changes in tempertures have caused. Most were sever changes caused meteor impacts or super volcanic actions; dramatically and suddenly changing climates.

    This is not to say that we should ignore our part. Clean up the toxic wastes? Sure. Teach our kids to conserve resources? Sure. However, the warming or cooling of our planet is not the most important problem we face right now and should not be the focus of our energy laws or restrictions. What is important is our need to feed our families, ensure that our children are healthy and stop this drive towards controlling every acpect of our lives based political agendas masking as environmental concerns. Hybrids are making real solutions to our energy and national safety. Let’s not try to save the world before we try to save our own families from zealots who only want to control us (ie leftists, muslim extremists, far rightists and the uniformed dupes of these groups). To this end, I am not trying to insult or demean anyone here, just give some food for thought from someone who has devoted his life to promoting alternative fuel energy for a better future for all of us.

  • hybridgreg

    I wish GM well. It is a company with a successful past that needs to unload a number of top managers that are out of step with the new realities of corporate responsibility. Unfortunately, those coming up in the company were developed under the wings of the present bunch.

    GM gave away their control over their company years ago when they thought that giving unprecedented concessions to unions would solve their short term problems; leaving massive pension and health pay outs (that drained the company of resources needed to do real research into alternative fuel technologies) to the next generation of managers to solve.

    In California, we no longer have a first class public transporation system because GM, Firestone Tire and Standard Oil conspired to deny us the Red Car system. This “gang of three” with their willing government accomplices, first bought the Red Car line and then bankrupted it.

    GM repeated that tactic when, in the early 1980’s, they put out a 350 CID gas engine block and heads and then converted to diesel (knowing it was a bad engine) to kill the diesel market; bankrupting many people who paid for that car to lower their rising gasoline bills. Buyers found that their diesel engine had a very short engine life. GM owned Detroit Diesel Engines, so they knew that proper diesel technology required a much stronger block than the gas engine. It took the oil companies part of the “gang of three” to raise diesel prices on heavy truckers (bankrupting many of them) to stop consumers from purchasing the more expensive (to produce) diesel versions in large numbers.

    They followed this by putting out an electric car that their own experts said would not work (but WOULD turn consumers against Toyota’s hybrid and Honda’s electric vehicle released in Japan in 1997); so GM released it as a “lease-only vehicle” to collect them once the damage was done to the fledgling hybrid market. They even followed this up with calling a Sierra pick up truck with a 110 VAC plug, a “hybrid”, to further confuse consumers about what a real hybrid is all about.

    Now they are attempting to do the same with the hybrid Volt that is an all electric car with a small gasoline battery charger in it; knowing it will take hours to recharge a discharged battery, before the owner can move it (remember, the gas engine does not move the vehicle.) Those who buy it are going to be real disappointed in ther “hybrid” when they wait around for hours to recharge. I guess calling an all- gas truck with a 110 VAC plug in it a “hybrid” is the same as calling an all electric vehicle with a small generator in it, a “hybrid” Both seem to accomplish the same thing for them, confusing the consumer about hybrids.

    Even GM’s 2-mode hybrid does little to advance the consumer opinion of hybrid technology. It still uses the exact same gas guzzling 6.0 Ltr engine that powers the non-hybrid version. So, they put it out there knowing that their spin machine can claim that hybrids get “only a little better fuel mileage than their all gas twin” (which gives GM the higher profit margin); again, fooling the consumer into thinking that hybrids are “not worth the extra money because they take years to recoup the extra fuel saving cost”. This result would leave the door open for GM to return to all gas engines in the future, except for the “politically correct crowd”

    With their own bankruptcy looming, life seems to have come full circle for GM. I hope there is a George Washington or an Abe Lincoln in their ranks that brings a better sense of corporate responsibility to that company. It will not take long to see. We, as consumers, are counting on the new generation of managers at that company to understand we are a much smarter public than in the “Red Car” era, the “converted gas-to-diesel engine” era; and now, in the trojan horse “all-gas and all-electric” hybrid era. The question is do they get it? Riding to Washington in a private jet to ask you and I to pay for their past “bad behaviors” seems almost ludicris. Personally, I want them to succeed in their transformation. Everyone deserves a second chance, but I , also, believe that they do not need some government beaurcrat making their decisions, either; only watching them from afar to be responsible.

  • Long Wong

    Lutz is a poser. Unfortunately, GM is full of executives without the skill, knowledge or leadership to help the company succeed. Then again, forget GM. Why even waste time discussing the merits of such an ineptly managed company with no compelling products and no future? Buy a Honda.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    hybridgreg, you state,

    “Now they are attempting to do the same with the hybrid Volt that is an all electric car with a small gasoline battery charger in it; knowing it will take hours to recharge a discharged battery, before the owner can move it (remember, the gas engine does not move the vehicle.) Those who buy it are going to be real disappointed in their “hybrid” when they wait around for hours to recharge.”

    What you have stated is not correct (see http://www.hybridcars.com/concept-hybrids/chevy-volt-concept.html). The Chevy Volt is designed to have a continuous range of approximately 340 miles without refueling or recharging. The gas engine runs a generator. It is not there just as a “battery charger”. It will generate enough electricity to run the electric motor. The article indicates that while the gas engine is powering the electric motor it is also recharging the batteries, but it does not say at what rate. It is possible that the slow “new” partial charge to the batteries is held in reserve for acceleration and hills. Chevy has not released much data on how it exactly works yet, but you are incorrect in stating that one would have to wait three to eight hours every 40 miles to recharge.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    hybridgreg, this is from a Wikipedia site on global warming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming):

    “These basic conclusions (global warming’s existence) have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science,[5] including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.[6][7][8]”

    You have yet to show your citations that refute these four citations, let alone the other 130 citations. IPCC members agreed and indicated, in general, that the water levels would rise 18 inches by the end of the century. Some within IPCC disagreed with the general consensus saying that it would be higher than that and possibly as high as 36 inches. With the water level rise over seven inches now, and the previous increased water levels having been below 3 inches about two years ago, I think the prediction of a 36 inch water level rise may be on the short side. And with that 36 inch rise will come the loss of low lands by flooding for growing crops. And those areas lost will be relatively large. Please find those citations, based on scientific facts or findings, that show all these scientific societies and academies of science that they are wrong and global warming is not so.

  • hybridgreg

    I do not know the particulars on how much the gas engine will contribute to the electric motor, either. I did not mean to imply that it had a range of just 40 miles. I do believe, though, based on the fact that it does require the battery to supply propulsion directly to the wheels that, in the event that the battery does discharge, it will require a considerable amount of time to recharge. Lithium ion batteries do require a different regeneration cycle than do NiMH but that would still mean down time. The concept that they are using, is similar to locomotives that only use the diesel engines to run the electric motors. You are right in that it remains to be seen about the power distribution, but keep in mind that there is no free lunch. If the gas engine is needed to run the electric motors, directly, it will run a considerable amount of time…and it is a 4 cylinder gas engine. The advantage of the lithium ion batteries is that it will (if the Volt uses the correct density) allow for a much greater range than the NiMH presently used, but at the expense of sustained power. By not using the gas engine for direct propulsion, it will make the combined system less efficient, not more efficient because it robs the system of the use of the gas engine horsepower at the higher RPM range. It will be a balance. I hope they find that balance, but I am beginning to believe that it will be mostly for local, not sustained long highway driving, despite their range claims. Thank you for allowing me to clarify my position.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Hybridgreg, what are your credentials?

    You have just called the Association of British Insurers, Nature, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Science, Journal of Geophysical Research, Biophysics, Max Planck Society, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Reviews Microbiology, The New York Times, Princeton University Press, Astrophysical Journal, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Academy of Sciences (USA), Royal Society, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, Nature Geoscience, American Meteorological Society, RealClimate, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Quaternary Science Reviews, American Geophysical Union, Astronomy & Geophysics, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Journal of Climate, BBC News , Environmental Research Letters, The National Academies, The Guardian, NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, World Meteorological Organization, Scientific American, Geology, Lancet, the United Nations, Sustento Institute, American Institute of Physics, New Scientist, International Herald Tribune, Pew Research Center, Newsweek, The Age, Associated Press, Reuters, ABC, and the Washington Post as being “not credible”.

    It is bad enough that you call the United Nations, National Academy of Sciences, New England Journal of Medicine, EPA, American Meteorological Society, NASA, and Royal Society as “not credible”, but The New York Times, BBC News, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Associated Press, Reuters, ABC, and the Washington Post are “not credible”? What do you use to get any information if everything is “not credible”?

  • hybridgreg

    Well, I am certainly not a climatologist, but some of these guys just do not make any sense. i do not believe that significant amounts of farm lands lie only 36 inches above sea level which you say will cause the loss of farms. Come to think of it, I can[t think of any farm land in the US that lies only 36 inches above sea level, but regardless of that, the large amount of previously frozen tundra will become available for farming. Please do not waste your time trying to quote groups of “concerned” scientists who have proven over and over again through many decades, that they are not credible. I still remember listening to the comments made by Al Gore on global warming to a group of scientists whose leader said that it sounds nice, but the science does not support his (Gore) views. I am not convinced of the negative effects of a warmer planet. All of history has proved that warmer weather supports more life, but more importantly more human life, than cold climates. The bottom line, the evidence for catastrophic consequences of warmer weather has not been proven, only that of a colder climate. And Wikipedia, now there’s a serious journal.

  • hybridgreg

    I refer to their leadership in the only way that one refers to organizations where the voices of rank and file members are not given a voice… but the leadership makes pronouncements, as if they speak in only one voice… ideologs and agendized biased political hacks. Most are sincere researchers, but I can spot frauds that are more interested in pushing an agenda, rather than provide good science. As an engineering instructor, I see the differences every day. So, please, if you want to “name drop” organizations as a way of justifying some unsubstantiated theory, remember, we all pay a heavy price for not confirming their pronouncements. Show me the studies and not their abstracts (which get printed in newspapers as “facts”). I have seen too much of that dribble to accept something simply because it shows up on the front pages New York Times or attempts to take serious research that are interpreted by politicans and some scurrilous sicentists as a way to advance their pet projects. This forum is not the place to have contests based on the names of organizations. It for serious discussions where opinions are taken and accepted or not.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    You asked for it, hybridgreg. The information / serious research that you are requesting this in the citations and references to the Wikipedia site on global warming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming). Since I wanted to make sure at what I was quoting and its validity, I opened a few of the citing / references / data given, including ones arguing against global warming. After looking at them, I then opened some of the citing / references / data given in those citing / references / data. And then I went down even further into the citing / references / data given within one of those citing / references / data. Most, if not all of the data, were peer reviewed and not censored by any leadership as implied by you. Feel free to prove that all those conclusions, based off of tens of thousands of pieces of data (data, not opinions) by the likes of NASA, EPA, American Meteorological Society, National Academy of Sciences, and Royal Society, were falsified and / or slanted of view. I am sure that all the peers that reviewed these papers would appreciate knowing how they missed all the falsified data and / or slanting of view. And you cannot tell me there are no newspeople out there that would not practically sell their souls for such a story of falsification of data and slanting of view.

    The body of evidence for global warming easily over whelms the smattering of evidence against global warming. The real question is not whether or not there is global warming. The real question is how much, how fast, and mankinds involvement.

    hybridgreg, you are right about one item; Florida would not be as devastated by a 36 inches rise in sea level as I thought. The areas that would be most devastated by 36 inches or less rise in sea level are:

    Hampton Harbor in New Hampshire
    Salisbury, Plum Island, Essex Bay, Lynn Harbor, Revere, and Boston in Massachusetts
    Long Island, New York
    Newark and Jersey City in New Jersey along with the New Jersey coastline
    Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay
    Most of the North Carolina and South Carolina coastlines
    Savannah, Georgia
    The Louisiana and Texas coastlines

    The west coast changes are:
    A lake or bay will start to form between Sacramento, California and Tracy, California about 20 miles wide
    Both the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas would start suffering significant land losses

    (Ref. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/sealevel)

  • hybridgreg

    This will be my last reply to you. I did go to your “reference” below and when I got it there it suggested I see Dr Douglass’ report in which he debunks most of the global warming hysteria. I appreciate your honesty in suggesting it to me. However, I never intended on getting into a lengthy discussion with you over global warming. Let’s just agree to disagree and not be disagreeable. The people on this website are intelligent enough to arrive at their own conclusions.

    (Ref. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/sealevel)

    Global Warming Hoax
    Find out how scientists, government are fooling the public.

    Take Care

  • Timothy J Bradley

    Kerry Bradshaw – what in the world made you think everyone understands your private “w/c” language? Rather arogant of you!

  • Timothy J Bradley

    Sorry Kerry Bradshaw, it was Samie who ticked me off with his insiders abrievo.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    hybridgreg, we will agree to disagree and not be disagreeable. I have read Dr. Douglas’ report (and also noticed the ironic and hilarious location for the site’s link) and have found, from researching some of his statements, some possible problems with his statements and information. But even as we discuss this topic, Scientific American has an article by an author raising the question of whether or not global warming is mainly the result of solar function. There are still questions being raised, and to be raised, on this subject. The very recent loss of the $278M Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite was unfortunate; it would have help to resolve a lot of questioning. Hopefully, people will read what we two have written, will do their own research, and come to their own conclusions. Again, we will agree to disagree.

  • SacEkimi

    Lutz is a poser. Unfortunately, GM is full of executives without the skill, knowledge or leadership to help the company succeed. Then again, forget GM. Why even waste time discussing the merits of such an ineptly managed company with no compelling products and no future? Buy a Honda.

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