Bob Lutz: Chevrolet Volt Should Have Been a Truck

2013 volt

Though he retired from General Motors (NYSE:GM) in 2010, former Vice Chairman Bob Lutz’s work at the company is still resonating today in the hands of CEO Dan Akerson, who will soon be replaced by Mary Barra. Of the projects that occurred with Lutz at the company, one of the more contentious ones was likely the Chevrolet Volt, a compact lift-back-type sedan that can operate on electric power for a limited period of time before using a gasoline generator.

However, according to a recent interview that Lutz gave with The Seattle Times, Lutz — now 81 years old — said the Volt should never have been a small sedan. It should have been, he said, a pickup truck.

“We started at the wrong end,” Lutz told the Times. ”The whole automotive industry made the intellectual mistake of thinking EVs were all about maximum range, so we all started with small vehicles that are basically very economical anyway. Yes, you do save fuel. You can use a smaller battery, but it makes less sense to take a 40 [miles per gallon] vehicle and make it electric than it does to take a full-size pickup or SUV, which in town realistically gets 11 to 12 [miles per gallon]. If you take that to 100 [miles per gallon], now you’re really saving money and saving a scarce natural resource and reducing CO2 emissions drastically.”