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Bob Lutz interview- Electric trucks should have come first

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by kenliles, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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    An interesting take from a a totally non environmental bias perspective
    Lutz:
    "I like vehicle electrification because it will in the future be, by far, the most efficient propulsion form, and electric vehicles are great to drive. They’re quiet. They have enormous power. The only problem today is they don’t have enough range"

    Bob Lutz: Electric Trucks Should Have Come First | CleanTechnica



    Not sure I agree but he has some interesting points, regarding power and fuel savings
     
  2. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    More proof that Lutz is a moron when it comes to reasoning about EV's. Early EVs with long ranges will be expensive because of the large battery pack. Your typical pickup truck buyer isn't willing to pay >$80K for a pickup.

    Whereas high-end luxury sedan buyers will drop >$80K on a sedan without blinking. And high-end sports car buyers will drop >$100K without blinking.

    Tesla's got the right strategy. And when it comes to EV's, Lutz is a moron.
     
  3. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    It's only because he's now involved with VIA Motors that he's talking this way. If he still was at GM with the Volt he would have been talking differently.

    I also have the feeling that the average truck buyer isn't really into EV's. They want a big V8 that roars and creates a little vortex in their gas tank.
     
  4. JST

    JST Active Member

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    Ford's success with offering a turbo V6 in the F150 and a four cylinder panel van delivery truck shows this isn't really true.

    The key issue for most truck buyers is power and economy. That's especially true of commercial truck owners. Electric motors make a lot
    of sense in this application, as long as the range and cost issues can be worked out.
     
  5. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    That's pretty funny considering a well equipped diesel pickup is $60k+. You put two Model S P85 motors in a truck and you have more torque and 2x as much horsepower as the diesel trucks.
     
  6. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    That is not what my experience shows. On more than one occasion I was gestured by guys in a pick-up truck that was stopped at a traffic light right beside me to roll down my window to complement me on my Model S with thumb up and a little EV encouragement/fascination talk.

    The electric contractor that was installing my NEMA 14-50 outlet was all over with questions about my Model S, but his eyes really lighted up when I told him that Tesla is thinking about electric pick-up. He told me that Contractors will be lining up to get it because of power, convenience (powering electric tools), and fuel savings.
     
  7. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    Ok, might be different from the truck owners I met in Europe.

    They usually buy the truck just to have the big engine, feels like an extension of something.

    I'm really surprised and happy to see contractors think about a EV :)
     
  8. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    The VIA truck is primarily aimed at fleet operators. They care a lot about total cost of ownership. And yes, here's some more evidence he'll talk up whatever he's doing, and talk down whatever someone else is doing.
     
  9. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Agreed. I wonder what version of truck he is talking about? When thinking about what that EV truck he is envisioning in his mind I can't see any practical use if that truck was built and sold first. That truck would have been really heavy (lots of batteries), really slow (in order to get the torque necessary to do even medium duty towing/pulling or would require transmission/gears) and really expensive (possibly 4X that of competitor/same class trucks). Maybe a F350 competitor with 100 miles of range, top speed of 80MPH, 2WD/RWD only and 9000lbs capacity. But that thing would have required a totally new chassis, battery tech that only TM currently has (aka 'flat' 85kwh capacity) and fast charge where trucks drive (aka 'everywhere' as in infrastructure). That truck would have been north of 100K

    The equation gets a lot better in 5 years and will be ripe for a TM truck (Model T ;)) which they should be able to do with a modified X and E skateboard (to accommodate/optimize for a bed), slightly lowered gear ratio with single gear and true 4WD for incredible towing/pulling
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Me too. I've had a number of people in pickup trucks in Texas do the same thing. If you could get 200 miles of real range in a pickup truck with more torque I think it might actually sell well. Most people don't seem to road trip in their pickup. Their other car is an SUV or sedan used for that purpose.
     
  11. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    PLUS ONE! Agree that two 85 motors get you more horsepower and more torque. Not sure you need two batteries, either.

    I was looking at Ford F150: 280 lb ft of torque. Model S has ~300. Double that and you're in serious competition with the serious trucks.
     
  12. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    I think two batteries would be needed. Plus you could use the superchargers with a port on each side of the truck and charge in the same time as the cars.

    I also think it would be needed because of discharge rate. Others here are more qualified to make that determination though.
     
  13. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    As usual, Lutz is not talking about EV's when he says "EV's", he's talking about plug in hybrids, like the Volt, and the trucks he's now selling. Totally different animal, and one that does not require a huge expensive battery pack.
     
  14. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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    That's kinda the tenor I was extracting as well. He makes some decent points, but fails to apply them to a true EV which actually amplifies the points he's making. Another example of underestimating the capacity of technology to leap frog. Thus opening more opportunity for Tesla IMO
     
  15. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    #15 rcc, Jan 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
    When I read the article, it looked to me like Lutz was talking about consumer pickup trucks. In the US, that means something like a Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra. Typical MSRP for those is nowhere near the MSRP of an S85, P85, or P85+. So yes, you could build an electric consumer pickup but not enough people would buy it -- it's too expensive.

    People will pay that much for commercial trucks but long range, ultra-fast recharge/refuel and good power-to-weight ratio are very important for that market because the trucks will be used all day and long-distance trips are more likely. Today's battery and recharging technology aren't viable for that usage pattern. Even if you built a pack that big, you can't recharge it fast enough and swapping isn't available. Yet. Wait a few years and enough of that will be but it's not there yet.

    So if someone built an electric truck today, they'd either have a consumer truck that's not cost-competitive with high-end consumer trucks or a cost-competitive commercial truck that's not viable for widespread commercial use.

    People like Lutz explain why GM had problems building cars that people were actually willing to buy.

    Elon's genius is that he figured out what you could build given current battery technology trends that people were willing to buy. And then he got them built.
     
  16. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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  17. Reykjavik

    Reykjavik Member

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    There is a lot of hate for Bob Lutz in here. Honestly, Lutz is exactly what we need right now. He doesn't care about the environment, he doesn't care about sustainability, but he still sees that electrification has significant benefits. The low cost of electricity means you can drive for less dollars, the simplicity of electric motors lets them be quiet and smooth. And the torque is generally phenomenal.

    We don't need people to understand *all* the reasons that EVs are better. We need people to understand enough reasons to convince them. We have the environment (globally and locally), Limited supplies of fuel (both total supply, and the fact that oil is a conflict mineral), we have performance, EVs have torque, and the torque is always available. We have a quieter ride, and better safety. We also have the convenience of charging at home, and preheating or precooling the vehicle before you get in. We have range and charging speeds to support a leisurely pace on roadtrips. We are close to having a better value than ICE cars (I'd say the model S has a better value than competitive vehicles, but no low end EV makes sens from just analyzing the cost).

    Lutz is a figurehead of the old industry, and he is a figurehead of the shift that is coming. They are slow to adapt, but plug in hybrids are a step in the right direction. If we can get Bob Lutz to support electrification, we can get a lot of other people like him.

    And he is right to an extent about plug in hybrids making a lot of sense for larger vehicles. We've had hybrid ships for over a hundred years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel-electric_transmission. Trains, and heavy trucks use hybrid drive systems. All you have to do is put in a battery and a regenerative braking system, and a plug, and can you get significant gains in efficiency, especially for short trips. And with big vehicles you have more space to put the systems in. Look at the BMW i8, it has room for two people and not much else, but a pickup could have a full sized bed, and still have an ICE, a pretty big battery, and all the other required systems. What it comes down to is price. Tesla was a small company, they couldn't build any sort of mass market vehicle, and in a sports car you can sell that emotion you get when you step on the accelerator and just go, in fact, that is what sports cars are really built for. I think GM probably could have gone the Tesla route and built a pure electric sports car, and then a luxury offering, and then proceeded from there. But I think for plug in hybrids, they could have offered trucks, vans, and fleet vehicles that have a lower total cost of ownership. I don't know whether or not Via will succeed, but I think it is possible, and I hope they do succeed.

    plug in hybrids are an excellent stepping stone between gas and electric, and they may even see a long term niche market.

    In short, Bob Lutz is a convert, not a visionary, but that doesn't mean he is blind. And what we need now is a lot more converts.
     
  18. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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    Reykjavik - good post, I agree with most of your thoughts.

    rcc - some of my thoughts as well. Too expensive except for a pure commercial version. Elon has this thing nailed for market timing. Tesla will have a successful truck in a few years.
     
  19. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    #19 stopcrazypp, Jan 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
    I don't think people are criticizing Lutz for suggesting a PHEV truck. I think the criticism is in his oversimplification of the market and costs. I remember very clearly he did the same for the Volt. His projection for it was that it would cost $20-30k (before credit) using some oversimplification of the costs (he figured adding $8k for the battery to the cost of a Cruze) and it ended up costing $40k.

    The key thing about the truck market is that costs and payback period are pretty much king. That was shown clearly given the miserable failure of the 2-mode hybrid program. So if GM started on trucks first the chances seem slim that it would have been a success (compared to the Volt). Starting with a Cadillac vehicle first instead of a Volt would be a different story.

    Battery costs might still have a way to go to hit the truck market, which is probably why Elon has thrown it as a later market to target.
     
  20. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    My criticism is his continued insistence on calling plug in hybrids "EV's", which ends up burying his actual points. He has a valid point that hybridizing larger vehicles can have significant advantages and payback, and that hybrids avoid the range and some of the cost issues a full EV would have. Unfortunately his message is lost because most people think he's talking about actual EV's, not plug in hybrids.
     

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