"Lutz Usually Gets What He Wants"
Anita Lienert - Edmunds Inside Line - April 15, 2008
DETROIT General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz isn't the only top executive at the company blabbing about the prospects of the electric Chevrolet Volt. In a recent live chat on GMnext.com, Bob Kruse, the automaker's executive director of global vehicle engineering, reassures the anxious that "Lutz [a major backer of the Volt] usually gets what he wants. So I know what I am betting on."
Kruse confirmed that "I will be driving [Volt] mules later this year. We are planning a press event later this summer to share with select media an update on our progress with real hardware."
He would not respond to the question: "The latest word in the blogosphere is the Volt could hit $48K. True?" Nor would Kruse disclose the Volt's performance specifications. However, he emphasized, "We will not be successful if we do not have competitive performance on all metrics."
Kruse updated the progress of the Volt and the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. "Both programs are proceeding nicely," he said. "I was just at our proving ground yesterday [April 10] with the actual development vehicles. They are for real.
"We are developing a series of advanced technology to allow us to provide triple-digit fuel economy," Kruse noted, adding that "the consumer will be blessed with many choices and alternatives."
The live chat was intriguing in that it got into some of the micro details on the Volt. When asked by an engineering student if the Volt will have an engine hour gauge and an odometer for the chassis, Kruse said, "The Volt will have a conventional odometer.... It is mandated," he said. "We will also have a new driver interface system to monitor many things related to our electric propulsion system: battery state of charge, power flow, etc. Not sure there will be an engine hour meter or not yet. The displays are configurable so we have lots of flexibility."
When asked whether GM will compete for the Automotive X Prize, Kruse said no. "I have all of my resource funding focusing on mainstream high-volume programs like the Volt," he said.
What this means to you: The Volt and Saturn Vue PHEV continue to edge closer to reality, says a key player at GM...[Read More]