Volt Birth Watch 14: CAFE Regs? Volt Launch Date? Maximum Bob Hasn't A Clue

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

GM Car Czar Bob Lutz sat down with journo Jerry Flint for a major chin wag. Forbes' finest asks Maximum Bob about his employer's two-mode hybrid system; Flint wonders if the system costs costs more than $10k per vehicle. "Well, at least," Lutz admits. "And we're not selling it for that." Oops! So will the inherently unprofitable technology help GM achieve its federally-mandated 35mpg by 2020 fuel economy targets? Nope. "Even with that, we get a full-sized Tahoe sport utility to 22 miles per gallon, which is 50% to 60% better than anyone else [?], but is still only 22. So where are we going to get the other 13 [mpg]? We don't have a clue, and throwing another 10,000 bucks at it isn't going to do it either." As for GM's next Next Big Thing, the electric – gas Chevrolet Volt, Lutz backpedals so hard he falls over. Flint bears the bad news: "On a scale of 1 to 10, he says his confidence level is a 9.5 that GM can build the Chevy Volt. The production date is another matter; Lutz's confidence drops to a 5.5. 'We're holding people's feet to the fire for the very end of 2010 into 2011. But that can slip, depending on how the development goes.'" In short, "It probably won't be a flawless launch." So, it's business as usual at GM.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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