bitguru blog

a guru of bits, or just a bit player?

GM on hybrid vehicles

Posted by bitguru on March 20, 2008

General Motors is using the New York International Auto Show to dispense various comments on hybrid vehicles.

We had the technology to come out with a hybrid at the same time as Toyota,” says vice chairman Bob Lutz, “in hindsight, it was a mistake” not to bring it to market. Lutz estimates that it would have cost $250 million per year to do so, but staying on the sidelines “cost GM billions in sales because it lost its image of having superior technology.” Of course Toyota managed to turn a profit on its hybrids after a few years.

GM doesn’t intend to make the same mistake with its plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt. “We won’t make a dime on this car for years, and the board is OK with that,” says Lutz. The Volt is part GM’s plans to mass-produce hybrid vehicles with lithium-ion batteries by 2010. GM hopes to choose a lithium-ion battery supplier by April.

Lutz also says, “by 2020 we figure that 80% of vehicles will require some sort of hybridization” to reach the eventual fuel economy standard of 35 mpg. That includes both mild and full hybrids. But he estimates its hybrids will be only 15% by 2015.

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