[ad#post_ad]I had the following discussion with outgoing GM vice chairman Bob Lutz about the Chevy Volt and pure EVs.

How do you see the difference in demand between the Voltec vehicle and the pure EV? You said the pure EV was your initial idea, and now Nissan now is racing to get the public affection for it. How do you see the split? Im worried there could be difficulty with public comprehension. For example when you were on Dave Letterman, even Dave got it wrong when he first heard of it.
Well he got it badly wrong. That’s why we got the session with him was to straighten him out. We have stopped calling it an extended range electric vehicle and we now call it an electric vehicle with range extension. We’ve kind of swapped the emphasis on that.

We did some research in various areas but predominantly on the West coast, and we conducted this research several times. We have reason to believe that Nissan conducted the same research and is now somewhat less bullish about the volume for their vehicle.

We asked people to pick from three concepts. Once is an electric vehicle of about 40 miles range but with a gasoline powered generator that would permit when necessary another 250 to 300 miles of range. Choice B is an electric vehicle with quick charging of a range of a hundred miles, and Choice C an electric vehicle with swappable batteries, with a range of 100 miles and you find a battery swapping station and you swap out.

83% of the vote went to the Volt concept.

If that’s true then the small EV market is so small then why bother? You went on the record in the past saying you could just simply take the engine out of the Volt and you have an electric car.
I will tell you that there is a high probability that we may well do some pure electrics. Maybe not necessarily for the US market but there are markets where traffic is extremely dense , it moves at extremely low speeds and the daily driving distance are very low. Im thinking of markets like India where we have announced our intention to do a pure EV off of our mini car architecture. So selective we will do pure EVs.

You haven’t committed to the US for that?
No, not yet. Its not to be excluded, we might do some of that.

It seems interesting to me that Nissan is pursuing that so aggressively and GM is not.
No No Look the whole control technology and all that stuff for the pure EV is trivial compared to the development effort that we what to put into the Volt. Trivial. Because you’re only dealing with one power sources.

So it would be quick and easy to do if you decide to?
Yes. Once you’ve got experience with the lithium ion technology, you’ve got the cooling down pat, you’ve got the charging down pat. Whether its more or less lithium ion bigger or larger batteries whether there’s a piston engine going along with it or not, its just doesn’t matter.