Former General Motors senior executive, Bob Lutz, has declared that improving electric vehicles (EVs) will soon make petrol-powered engines obsolete.
During a recent television interview on CNBC, Lutz said that he believed the electric car future would be upon us in the next five to 10 years.
At that point, Mr Lutz believed that EVs would be good enough for people to abandon models driven by conventional powertrains.
“The day will come when batteries will accept more charge, costs will come down, fast charging will happen, but the whole thing is 5-10 years away,” Lutz said. “At that point, who needs a gasoline engine anymore?”
Mr Lutz also spoke at length about Elon Musk’s Tesla operation, saying that Tesla was succeeding because Musk delivered on his promises.
“You need three things for EVs to work,” Lutz said.
“You need about 300 miles (480km) of range, rapid recharging and affordable pricing. So far Tesla has achieved two out of the three.” (The third appears to be around the corner.)
But Mr Lutz also pointed out some of the EV industry’s failings, saying that they only made financial sense in full-size pick-up trucks and vans, and that stated battery ranges were subject to fluctuation.
“The other thing about batteries is that the stated range is always with a new battery on a standard 65 degree (18.3 degrees Celsius) day,” Lutz said.
Once the vehicle's battery ages, or if the outside temperature is too cold or hot, "there could be up to 30 percent less range".
Lutz also commented on the problems besieging cash-strapped premium EV brand Fisker.
“The Fisker is just as beautiful as the Tesla Model S, although the price point was a little higher than Tesla,” Lutz said.
He said that despite its style and appeal, the Fisker brand launched too soon and found itself overwhelmed with reliability issues and bad press. "It was half-baked when it came out, that was the problem.”
Lutz was also scathing in his comments about the failed Better Place program.
“I could give you a 15-minute lecture on why Better Place never made any sense and never will make any sense; it’s the dumbest thing I ever heard of,” Mr Lutz said.
Bob Lutz - who retired from General Motors in 2010 – now runs Lutz Communications and has written several books.
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