Bob Lutz on the future of electric cars, Tesla, Fisker, Better Place, etc (video)

Bob Lutz CNBC
Screen capture CNBC

Bob Lutz, now with VIA Motors but better known as the father of the Chevy Volt, gave an interview to CNBC about pretty much all things electric car. Check it out:

Personally, I think Lutz is being too conservative when looking at the future of electric vehicles; he's looking at it too linearly, as if things will keep moving at a rate similar to what has happened so far rather than reach some tipping point that will greatly accelerate the transition (kind of like how almost nobody had cell phones for many years after they came out and then, after a certain price/performance ratio was reached, everybody got one in a short period of a few years).

He also seems to put the bar way too high for what he considers necessary for mainstream success. Electric cars won't need 400 miles of range to attract most buyers, not only because the vast majority of people don't drive very far in a typical day, but also because in practice driving range works differently on an EV than on a gas car. With overnight charging, you pretty much always have a full battery in the morning, with a gas car only gets filled up maybe once a week or every two weeks. This means that you need way more total fuel capacity so that, say, on the fifth day after a fill up you still have a good margin of safety.

Even on those rare long road trips, most drivers will stop every few hours to stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and a beverage, go to the bathroom, etc. During that time you can plug into a fast charge station and get enough juice for the next leg of the trip.

So while it's true that there are some people who frequently drive very long distances without stopping (adult diapers?), they are outliers and it's false to say that 400+ miles of range are needed for mainstream appeal.


See also: Tesla announces huge expansion of Supercharger network, upgrade to cut charging time in half

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