Volt Birth Watch 11: The Tooth Fairy Will Handle Marketing

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Now we know where GM is going to get the technology for the Volt's drivetrain: the Easter bunny. BusinessWeek reports that Bob Lutz escalated the war of the war of words between GM and Toyota at a meeting of the Western Automotive Journalists association. According to Lutz, Toyota's executive VP of R&D and product development said that the Volt is just an advertising ruse with battery technology that's "completely wacky." Max Bob's response? "Let's wait for the Easter Bunny," referring to his dream claim that GM hopes to will have a test mule with the Volt's drivetrain on the streets by spring of 2008. Maximum Bob also hinted that the General's the victim of a Japanese conspiracy. Japanese companies failure to bid on GM's battery proposals indicates "Lithium battery technology is being husbanded in Japan. It's like a secret weapon." Continuing his trip down paranoia lane, Maximum Bob blamed ethanol's bad press (re: questionable economic and environmental benefits) on a "multi-million dollar smear campaign" by the American Petroleum Institute. "They make it sound like ethanol is taking food out of the mouths of babes [and causing] taco riots in Mexico…" Let's just hope Santa Claus brings GM's Car Czar a clue for Christmas.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

More by Frank Williams

Join the conversation
4 of 12 comments
  • CB1000R CB1000R on Nov 20, 2007

    Everybody knows there's a super villian mega fortress in northern Canada where they're producing and stockpiling the precious hi-tech battery packs needed for everything from sonicare toothbrushes to concept cars. When oh when will Bob Lutz don his tux and save the world?!?

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 20, 2007

    I think Bob made a simple slip. When he said "Easter Bunny," what he was thinking was "Energizer Rabbit."

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Nov 20, 2007

    Frank, This interview is disturbing. It reveals GM as deeply insecure of itself and unsure about how to survive in the future. Why is he complaining the Japanese are husbanding Lithium batteries? Maybe GM regrets they've outsourced such a critical technology? Wasn't he supposed to use the miracle batteries of A123? Are they worried A123 can't supply in high volume and cheaply? Why is he ranting against the CAFE law if he's going to have that wonderful Volt? Why does he say fuel efficiency benefits are tapped out? Is he longing back to the days of V8 pushrods? Why is it a problem to pay a few thousand more for a vehicle if it saves you a lot on gas? GM really hasn't embraced the future yet and that's going to be a problem for them.

  • Johnson Johnson on Nov 21, 2007

    Seems like the egg is on Bob's face. Kazuo Okamoto never made statements about the Volt calling it "completely wacky". Bob "the Putz" ... I mean Lutz has really gone off his rocker this time. He should retire ASAP before he makes a total fool of himself. First he disses Camry buyers and import customers, now he's directly attacking a Toyota engineer? And the auto industry has "tapped out" on obtaining fuel efficiency benefits on conventional technology? Sounds more like GM is simply giving up. There are plenty of conventional technologies that GM is not utilizing that would increase fuel efficiency. Unfortunately for GM, the competition is using these. This includes infinitely variable valve lift, which both Toyota (in Japan) and Nissan have on the market already and with Honda due to release their system in the next 2 years. Then there is the electronically controlled variable valve timing (VVT-iE) that Toyota is using. Variable valve lift alone can improve fuel efficiency by about 10%. Showing feasability with a prototype is one thing; proving feasability in the real world with a production model is something else. Assuming GM makes a feasable prototype, that's still not a production model. Fact is far too many questions remain with the Volt. Will the vehicle itself be feasable for production? Will the price be feasable?