Bob Lutz: Apple Should Avoid “Money Losing” Electric Vehicles – Video

SEP 23 2015 BY JAY COLE 151


As news of Apple’s autonomous electric vehicle heats up (a recent report says the release timeline of that EV has sped up to a 2019 release), CNBC looked around for a high profile auto-commentator to interview.

Bob Lutz Thinks Apple Is Going Into This EV Business With Blinders On

Bob Lutz Thinks Apple Is Going Into This EV Business With Blinders On

Enter Bob Lutz.  Again.

The former GM exec, and “father” of the Chevrolet Volt has consistently been changing his viewpoint on plug-in cars as more and more time goes by since his GM (and now VIA Motors) leadership days.

Today, he classes electric vehicles as generally “money losers” and the only reason OEMs are making them is to meet European and US regulations.

“When it comes to actually making cars there is no reason to assume that Apple, with no experience will suddenly do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, or Hyundai. So I think this is going to be a giant money pit.”

Mr. Lutz says he would be upset if he was an Apple shareholder.

While traditional big auto seems to be all about making small incremental improvements to continue selling the same lineup of cars over an extended period, we doubt many have ever considered what a “killer app” could do for their business.  Instead, they build compliance cars that are pre-designed to be financially unsuccessful, but regulatory compliant in the most minimum way…after all, isn’t that (the ‘killer app’) exactly what the electric vehicle could be, at least if it was packaged in a way people actually wanted?

Hey ‘big auto’, how about some plug-in, extended range minivans, SUVs and trucks – or options for 150+ mile ranges batteries (go ahead, inconvenience us by putting that extra 12 kWh in the trunk) on mid-size, all-electric cars?

As it turns out, if big auto isn’t willing to take that chance, the likes of Apple and Tesla will.

CNBC, Hat tip to Lyle Dennis, sven!

Categories: Apple, General

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151 Comments on "Bob Lutz: Apple Should Avoid “Money Losing” Electric Vehicles – Video"

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He’s right of course. Apple starting to build cars is like Apple trying to compete with Nokia. That will just never… oh wait.

+1. No question he’s right. All the profit is in the technology licensing. Of course he’s also right that Apple has so much cash that burning billions won’t make a difference to it!

The one thing he’s missing is that over time battery prices will come down making electric vehicles mainstream. If you have a long enough time horizon electric cars aren’t a bad investment.

Apples basic business model, outsourcing all production to the cheapest slaves, will not work well for heavy industry parts.

It might actually work. Apple’s key has been to subcontract out to cheap suppliers BUT they also closely manage them in order to keep the quality top notch. If you don’t provide a quality part to Apple, they will fire you.

Apple has never outsourced the design, software or features of the device.

Two, like Tesla, Apple isn’t afraid to hire the best talent in the industry, and then find out from the talent where they can go.

GM has clobbered Toyota on technology with the Volt, but it’s still got to grab marketshare from Toyota with PRICE, to actually win. We’re still waiting…

This is a common but very flawed agrument.

Apple for many years made computers, monitors, and hand held music players. They made their own custom OS. They made in the past a PDA. For apple to jump to the iphone isn’t a big deal at all.

Apple has never made a car, an ICE or electric drive train and now wants to build a full fledged car. They don’t even have their own factories for making their iphone.

Well, they have billions to waste poaching car engineers to do this, esp from Tesla, but I seriously doubt they will just take over anytime soon.

Who has mare than 5 years experience manufacturing electric cars? Any experience manufacturing self driving cars? no one.

IMO the electric car revolution was started when car companies realized that people could buy a kit off the internet and make a half decent EV conversion. Making EV’s is nowhere near as difficult as making and ICE car. Making money is tough with emerging technology, who is arguably the best company in the world at making money from new technology? not GM that’s for sure

Haha, if I ever meet Bob I’m gonna shake his hand and punch him in the mouth.

“Who has mare than 5 years experience manufacturing electric cars? Any experience manufacturing self driving cars? no one.” Irrelevant. An electric car is a car without an ICE but with an electric drivetrain. Apple has zero experience doing either, while everyone else has many years to over a 100 to perfect the rest of the car. The electric moto drivetrain is comparably easy, and Toyota and GM and Tesla already have considerable expertise in this area. “IMO the electric car revolution was started when car companies realized that people could buy a kit off the internet and make a half decent EV conversion.” Heard of this, but I doubt you can call that a revolution of any sort. “Making EV’s is nowhere near as difficult as making and ICE car.” Why? Because the drive train is simpler? That still leaves engineering a proper battery, inverter to control the motor, a proper gearbox, hvac, and other components. All of which still, the typical ICE company has way more experience doing, even at a hybrid level. “Making money is tough with emerging technology, who is arguably the best company in the world at making money from new technology? not GM that’s for… Read more »

The legacy makers are brilliant at scaling the production of ICE cars, but EVs are a different problem. The introduction of EVs is a “whole system” problem which Tesla has cracked and they appear not to have grasped. Apple and Google are far better placed than VW and Mercedes to tackle the larger problem.

Just for starters, many of the legacy manufacturers have adopted a fast charge standard (SAE combo) which is obsolete on introduction (90 kW compared with Tesla’s 120 kW).

Building the car itself is just a part of the story. The big Western auto makers are the walking dead if they don’t get with the beat

Who listens to Klutz.

How sad to see that the man who championed the cause of the Volt at GM, now has turned against the EV revolution. Maybe his job demands he make such public statements whether or not he believes it, I dunno. One thing is certain: He has turned and is now swimming against the tide of history. * * * * * There is certainly space for Apple to get in on the EV revolution, if it wants to. The new car market is still dominated by about 99% gasmobiles, and it’s inevitable that the market will shift in the next generation or two to mostly EVs, probably plug-in EVs. But why would Apple want to? The new car market is marked by fierce competition, thin (sometimes nonexistent) profit margins, and requires massive amounts of capital expenditures; an investment orders of magnitude greater than the amount Apple has to spend on ramping up manufacturing its consumer electronics products. Making cars would be a very poor fit to Apple’s business strategy. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s impossible that they’ll jump in, but to date the evidence we’ve seen does not appear to point to that. One thing is certain: Apple won’t… Read more »

He’s not knocking the Volt, he’s knocking pure EVs. In his book he explains why he developed the Volt, in that even the range of the old Volt was enough for the majority of daily commutes, and beyond that a car needs to carry around 150 pounds of additional batteries to get the same range it gets from every 6 pounds of gasoline.

Mark B. Spiegel said:

“…a car needs to carry around 150 pounds of additional batteries to get the same range it gets from every 6 pounds of gasoline.”

The space occupied by a plug-in EV’s large battery pack is more important than the weight, but both space and weight keep dropping every year, as battery energy density improves.

Contrariwise, the approx. 500-750 lb. weight penalty for an ICEngine, multi-gear transmission, exhaust system, and all the other Rube Goldberg kludges which gasmobiles need to make the horribly inefficient gas engine to power a car, isn’t likely to shrink. The cost of all those large machines and kludges isn’t likely to shrink, either. In fact, with demand for greater fuel efficiency, the cost for all that keeps going up.

Plug-in EVs will continue to get more and more competitive with gasmobiles every year. We’re already at the point where the heavy battery pack isn’t a significant hindrance to PEV sales.

Currently, the limiting factors are cost, EV range, and the waiting time for en-route recharging. All those are improving fairly rapidly, year-on-year. Gasmobiles? Not so much.

“The space occupied by a plug-in EV’s large battery pack is more important than the weight …”

Sorry to burst your bubble … again … but Lutz is right and you are not

Oh really? How is it then that Model S has passenger space for 5, a hatchback/trunk area, AND a frunk area? (Or you can configure the hatchback area for 2 kids seats.)

Seems like the EV uses less volume than the ICE. At least a well designed one.

non sequitur

on point

LOL – not on point!! Lutz makes a claim about battery weight in a PHEV and you use Tesla as example to prove him wrong.

I agree that the equation will change with the adoption of solid-state batteries, assuming that they have 2x the density of current Li-Ions and a somewhat lower price. I’m sure that Lutz would agree too, as he’s an extremely logical guy.

Extremely logical guy? No. He’s a climate change denier. I’m sure he was great back in the day but now he’s an old out-of-touch guy.

P.S. Your comment about “gasmobiles– not so much” is dead wrong. Do you know that the new 2016 Malibu hybrid is a full-sized family car that gets 48mpg in the city? For the vast majority of consumers, it will be extremely hard for EVs to compete with that unless gas is over $5 a gallon or EVs are considerably cheaper. (And I’m not saying that eventually one or both of those conditions won’t be met, but right now we aren’t even close.)

And we don’t know the price of the 2016 Malibu Hybrid.

So we don’t know how it stacks up to projections of the 2017 200 mile EVs yet.

And we won’t know the reality til 2017.

The conversation was whether or not “gasmobiles are improving fairly rapidly, year-on-year”.

Your response makes no sense.

With rapid improvement in batteries the Volt Gen 2.0 ( 2016 ) might be the last Volt produced. He should know that.

Well, in addition to the 6 pounds of gas, you need an engine, the gas tank, an exhaust system, an ignition system, an engine coolant system, a fuel system, and a transmission.

Is that really more efficient? Why not just keep the car simple, add more batteries, and make sure it has a good DC-fast charging system.

Tesla figured it out. The only thing Tesla is missing is cheaper battery prices and they are working hard on that.

A smaller car than the Model S should be able to go 200+ miles with a 50KWH battery if designed really well. (The Model S managed 208 miles on 60KWH.) That is what the Model 3 hopefully will be. What it needs to be.

Reality is more complicated than the simplifications you present here. Which means that Lutz is not as wrong as you claim, and your observations are not as universal as you might think.

It seems to be that Lutz is the one who over simplified things by comparing the gasoline to batteries. You have to consider the entire drivetrain, not just one end of it.

Not really. Lutz was accurate. It seems you do not like him, but that does not make him incorrect.

Go read carefully. The quote from Lutz is specific to the Volt, namely that 150lb of battery gets the same range as 6lb of gasoline.

His information seems reasonable to me, but somehow you thought you could apply Tesla stats to refute his Volt claim.

If you want to stop ranting and make a useful comparison, you could learn more from BMW i3 (comparing BEV vs rex) and see how battery weight & range compares with engine weight and range.

Why would Apple want to? What about being part of the cleaning of our atmosphere? History could remember Apple, Google and Tesla as saviors of the highly polluted world… or maybe with the pending cataclysmic climat changes there won’t be no future history at all… We’re about to find out.

Lutz threw the same warning to Tesla.
That’s good luck.

Apple can buy VW after VW pays the fine and loses some of its value further. That will be a smart move.

When FIAT or any other smaller company gets into the same net as VW then Tesla can buy FIAT.

Apple buying FIAT would be so awesome. Toss out Sergio and start building EVs. Poetic justice.

Oh Bob. Why don’t you just climb into the SUV gas tank with the rest of the dinosaurs?

This is just sad.

Interesting that he didn’t mention Nissan and their success with EV sales.

He sort of did when the said how little market share EVs have (this includes Nissan). In the US we are below 1%. Norway in the only country with significant market share.

That being said, it’s only been 5 years since you could get an affordable EV, so this market share will only grow.

Netherlands is above 5% 😉

He avoided Nissan. lol

Bob Lutz only wants ICE vehicles on our tiny planet. Don’t be a “Lutz”.

Not only is Lutz the father of the EREV.

He is the figurehead/spokesperson for EREV truck company Via Motors.

90% of Republicans are Lutzes…Don’t be a Lutz

Ask the man with no vision, about someone’s efforts to innovate and he’ll say, ‘I don’t see it.”

Odd he didn’t ‘see’ Nissan or Renault, either.

Is Exxon still paying this guy? Maybe it’s just sour grapes on his part? Hmm. Sad.

I wish there was more depth to people’s comments on the web. Bob Lutz is an icon. He is a war hero and a true leader in the auto industry. He is 83 years old! When they say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, they aren’t completely right. Bob was responsible for “Finding New Roads” long before some GM ad agency whiz thought that tag line up. Try BMW 3 Series Dodge Viper, resurrection of the Chevrolet Malibu and success of their Equinox, just to name a mere few. In 2008 Lutz proclaimed: “The electrification of the automobile is inevitable”, and co-fathered the Volt with John Laukner. Lutz was known to be the go-to guy when your car company was failing. He guided Exide Batteries to success and should be admired for his candor and expertise in many more successes than failures during his long carreer. Lutz adeptly noted GM’s biggest mistake in developing Volt was that, due to economies of scale – they did not build Volt as a pickup truck first. EV-heads criticized him for this, but who has not had hindsight as insight, being that it is 20/20? He also made those statements as a… Read more »

James said:

“Lutz adeptly noted GM’s biggest mistake in developing Volt was that, due to economies of scale – they did not build Volt as a pickup truck first.”

That makes no sense. With energy in an EV’s battery pack so limited, it makes sense to develop them first as highly streamlined compact cars. Pickup trucks have very much worse aerodynamics, and have the need to haul heavy cargo. Both of those requirements will be a heavy hit to EV range.

“Lutz is kind of a Trump – as he just lays it out there as he sees it.”

No need to insult Mr. Lutz. He’s not a clown, nor is he someone who will utterly sacrifice every bit of personal integrity, honor, truth, and everything else to get his face on TV.

His statement on trucks, was related to more potential fuel savings to offset. Hence more potential value to add from a PHEV system.

I do agree, but he said that as an Exec for VIA Motors, so it was as much PR as his true belief of making a mistake with the Volt.

@Man who identifies with a dual-headed llama: R&D for BEVs, EREVs and PHEVs at gas car companies involves trying to stuff battery packs into a platform that was developed for and ICE powertrain. In this – trucks present the least challenge as battery packs fit nicely inside the existing frame rails needed no new tooling or expensive redevelopment. Add several million units sold by the top 4 full-sized truck manufacturers in the USA, and you come to economies of scale unbeknownst amongst all other possible vehicles. The marriage works well and VIA trucks regularly see 40 miles AER. Not all trucks carry their full gross payload daily. In fact, most are driven like light-duty cars. No matter their aero-efficiency, as larger battery packs will cost less. It’s easy to drive costs down when you order 100,000 packs at a time. Ever wonder why $11,000 flat screen TVs were $1100 flat screen TVs 4 years later? Try to drive costs down selling 30,000 units of anything per year! Trucks make the perfect EREV candidate. BEVs? Not so much. But they’ll get there. The sad fact that illuminates the compliance attitude of petro-carmakers is that there is nothing…no, not one thing that… Read more »

Well presented and logical.

Well why does it take so long to VIA to sell their damned trucks?

Rexx – don’t throw me such an easy one…

Answer: Because VIATRUX, VIA’s EREV version of GM’s full-sized pickup truck costs between $83-93,000.

Simple as that.

“Economy of scale” means that if a manufacturer of goods can sell that product in high enough volume, they can negotiate a much better price from it’s suppliers forcing competition and in the end, the consumer wins because that good or service is now costs incredibly less.

For those few remaining doubters: GM, Ford, RAM, Toyota and Nissan now regularly price their full-sized trucks over $50,000. For some of us, that sounds absurd, but go look – it’s now a reality.

Enter a 40 mile, electric range truck that kicks into it’s turbo 4 cylinder, or V-6 engine after the useable energy is depleted from it’s battery packs, returning 75MPGe to it’s owner – sold for $55,000 and watch them fly off the shelves!

Double that price? Not so much.

Oh yes! Economy of scale… and Mr. Lutz didn’t think about it… at this price, it’s like any other PEV. Companies act like they don’t want to sell them.

@ James:

Thank you for your informative and thoughtful post. You make several good points.

I think the one point you made which most deserves repeating is that it’s time, or past time, for PHEV light trucks (pickups, vans, SUVs) with at least moderate range to start appearing on the market. I find it unfortunate that GM has not put its Voltec powertrain into these sorts of vehicles. And I don’t consider the sub-25-mile PHEVs, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, to have even moderate range.

But as I’ve said repeatedly, legacy auto makers have a strong disincentive to build compelling PEVs in large numbers; PEVs which would compete with their own best-selling gasmobiles. Much as we’d like it to be otherwise, market leaders in legacy tech never, ever push forward disruptive tech revolutions. That’s why Kodak didn’t lead the digital camera revolution… and eventually went bankrupt. It’s why Tesla is leading the EV revolution, not GM.

Josh said:

“…he said that as an Exec for VIA Motors”

Ah, thanks for clarifying. It makes a lot more sense in the context of a statement from a spokesman for a company which sells EV trucks.

Think about what really is a war hero, but a disciplined killer and destructor? think about it…

Think about where we’d be if we didn’t have war heroes like Bob Lutz? You’d be doing the goosestep under a flag with a swastika; working on a collective farm wearing drab clothing, and calling everyone comrade; or living in a caliphate and watching the daily beheadings praying that you won’t be next in line. Think about it. . .

RexxSee, you sleep peacefully at night because men like Bob Lutz fought against evil so that you wouldn’t live under tyranny. Cherish and enjoy your freedom, thanks to war heroes like Bob Lutz.

That’s what we’re told… fight for freedom… but hey, look who’s filling his pocket with the repeated ongoing wars for oil…

Bob Lutz is a veteran of the Korean Police action. Like all veterans I thank him for his service to the country during that time.

But no, he didn’t single handedly save us from hitler. He wasn’t even old enough to fight back then.

I remember him for helping drive gm to bankrupcy, and predictions that the prius would always be a money loser.

I’d like to get some of my tax money back that was spent to restore the damage Mr. Lutz and other gm executives did to the company.

The depth is there; you just need to recognize it. Barking at others doing the same thing (EVs) as he’s attempted, seems less heroically visionary, yet far more egocentrically / hypocritically motivated.

Old dude just needs to retire and let the young folks with healthier corporate cultures change the world for the better.

Bob, like GM, are in their sunset years.

Anon said:
“Old dude just needs to retire and let the young folks with healthier corporate cultures change the world for the better.”

Yeah, like young CEO Martin Shkreli and the corporate culture at Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company he runs. Just pray that you’ll never need the life-saving GENERIC drug Daraprim, which is now $130,000 in the USA for a full course after Skreli bought the exclusive marketing rights to the generic drug and raised the price 5000% to $750 per pill. A couple of years ago it cost only $1 per pill in the U.S., and it still costs $1 per pill in India. 🙁

Anon, you harp on old folk with your ageism, but fail to see that many young folk are a new breed of self-absorbed super douches, if not uber douches.

That was one of the best comments I’ve ever seen on the Internet

So how does he explain his involvement in VIA motors?

I see an internal conflict in Bob. On one hand he loves new technology & designs. On the other hand, he doesn’t like it when others are doing it and getting praise. On one hand, he sees electrification as the future. On the other hand, he’s a republican/capitalist who hates big government telling car makers what to do.

I hope he gets it sorted out and finally jumps 100% into the EV bandwagon.

I doubt if Bob will ever get it sorted out. After all he did say:

“Global warming is crap”

Well it ain’t Scottish.

Hopefully the sea change happens before he leaves this planet so he can see all of this electrification wasn’t in vain (or just for Big Brother).

The seas have already risen by some 5 to 6 inches over the past 150 years as proven by tide guages and satellite measurements.

But the thing, that is such slow change that no one notices. But it has started to accelerate. It used to rise by 1mm/year. Now it is moving at some 2 to 3 mm/year. But it is still really slow. Bob will die before his home is swamped.

And that is the problem with climate change. It literally is very much like the old ‘frog in a pot of water being heated up’ trope. And by the time we notice things are really getting too hot, it may then be very very hard to slow down due to our FF addiction, lag effects, etc.

But Bob don’t care . . . he’ll be dead.

“The seas have already risen by some 5 to 6 inches over the past 150 years as proven by tide guages and satellite measurements.”

Really? 150-year-old satellites told you this? Neil Armstrong didn’t mention seeing any.

Funny, I don’t remember Neil Armstrong being that old…same silly counter-argument.

Yeah, that rationalization would make sense for this mindset. I’ve always been very disappointed that more conservatives don’t seize upon the fact that getting off oil would be HUGE for out economic security and national security.
-Reduce dependence on foreign oil.
-Build up and own the big new industry of the future.
-Stop sending money to Russia
-Stop sending money to jihadis in the mid-east
-Stop sending money to dictators in Africa
-Stop sending money to socialists in South America
-Reduce our trade deficit.

Elon, lead us to this future!

Which is why I posited earlier that he must still be on the payroll of Exxon. Maybe he’s making niche EV’s that will never gain mass acceptance, due to previous industry “obligations”? 😉

Or, War-Dude really isn’t capable of grasping (or admitting?) that he’s directly helped destroy the planet as we’ve known it, with his legion of Oil Burners?

What a fascinatingly conflicted person.

Bob is always repeating obsolete past truths, which is a symptom of senility. Quiet a common occurrence at 83. The wrong here is rather on the journalist side who still interview him like a worthy reference despite those obvious symptoms. Let him in peace, going fishing with his ICE truck and his steadfast obsolete views.

At 83, Bob really has “forgotten more than most people know” about the car business.


so scared muhaha

The sad thing about Lutz is that he was not really a revolutionary at all. The Volt was really his way of showing up that little pissant wannabe carmaker known as Tesla. This is why I really wish Tesla would do what it needs to (like give us folding 2nd row seats) with the Model X to continue making EV progress. Carmakers continue to release news about models that will compete with Tesla and absent Tesla, it seems like nothing would be happening at all. This Lutz stuff is sad and pathetic, but not surprising. It has, however, reduced my view and respect for Lutz to that I have for pretty much all major corporations these days. Regardless of the US Supreme Courts decisions about Citizens United and Hobby Lobby, corporations do NOT act as people. They are selfish machines that will lie, cheat and steal to increase profits. Between VW and this Lutz interview, the ugly news about greedy carmakers just keeps piling on these days.

Tesla is NOT losing money on their cars. They have a 25 % margin. They are losing money on developement of new things, like building a Gigafactory.

That’s not losing money, that’s investing money in future growth. Nothing is being lost as long as the investment pays off in the long run.

Of course. That is what I meant. They are investing money, not losing money on the cars.

Building a factory doesn’t affect profits. When it’s done it starts depreciating, and that’s when it starts counting. It kills cash flow in the meantime, which is why a successful high-growth company can still be short of cash.

Other parts of high growth do affect profits, for instance R&D spending and training new employees. Tesla’s recent losses are larger than I’d like to see, though.

The money spent on building a factory is not a large one time hit/expense on a company’s income statement. The factory cost is capitalized (made an asset on the balance sheet) and expensed on the income statement equally over 40 years as a straight-line depreciation expense.

Lutz has the foresight of other auto industry geniuses like Lee Iacocca who fought against seat belts and air bags for years. All they think about is the next quarter’s profits.

They are unable to see any value in clean air and a stable climate.

Thank goodness for regulations.

Lutz makes a misstatement right off the bat. OEMs are forced to make EVs because of CARB/section177 Zero Emission regulations and European CO2 limits, not fuel economy standards.

The fuel economy standards are being gamed by building abd promoting SUVs and trucks instead of passenger cars.

Electrics are about zero emissions. Low operating costs through very cheap fuel and 100+ MPGe is a bonus.

Apple’s car will be, like Tesla, a game changing innovation. The old rules, and economics, will not apply.

Yet what seems to fascinate tech-heads in California other than Musk is autonomous driving.

I content fully autonomous driving is a pipe-dream. If Apple is chasing Google’s lead in that direction, I believe they are driving down a very expensive dead end. If Apple has more of Musk’s vision – I with them all the best. If any company on earth has the resources to make electrification of the automobile a reality – it is Apple, for sure. They are the giant that will absolutely force all the legacy automakers into the electric realm for real.

To date – it’s a sidebar and existing infernal-combustion car companies are playing games due to regulatory mandates. Is it so important which mandates drive them, or the fact that they drag their collective feet, hoping Tesla falls on it’s face?

Apple surely could be a game-changer unless it’s folly is chasing after the car that needs no driver.

* sorry for all the typos = * contend; *wish….

It is 7:00 AM here on the left coast, after all…


I dunno, I kinda like “infernal combustion”… 🙂

It certainly would be nice if InsideEVs would give us an “Edit” button!

HINT HINT HINT… are you listening, Jay?


L :O L!!!

I’ve been using that line for a looong time now.


I fully agree with what you wrote.

What has Tesla changed? Nothing for the broad masses. In reality, gas guzzling fat SUVs are running from one worldwide sales record to another every year.

Evolution takes time. Tesla has changed the automarket forever. There are those who realize that and those who will eventually realize it.

Yeah, gas is cheap right now. But it will be back to being expensive again in a few years.

Tesla miraculously has made a difference. A huge difference. So many small auto companies have sprung up only to fail in short time, much like modern versions of Tucker – just not able to get enough financing and cash flow before feeling the crush of established auto giants who protect their markets like a lion protects her cubs. Just the presence of a Tesla Model S shows the world how old-fashioned and impractical gasoline-powered cars are. The massive conflict of interest myself and Pushmi have spoken about constantly is that a gas car company cannot now produce a superior electric that makes all their mainstay products look bad. It’s totally counterproductive and counterintuitive for them to shoot themselves in the foot by doing so. This means they plod along building some electrified or electric offerings to comply with MPG and emissions laws, but it’s always going to be a half-hearted attempt where their engineers shine, but are completely hogtied by business decision makers that run their companies. Tesla has none of those constraints. Through timing, determination, providence and/or just plain old good fortune – Tesla has been able to survive and grow. Each day Tesla stays alive and grows is… Read more »

>> … obsolete, 19th century technology …
Yes, ICE-powered automobiles were invented in the 19th century.

Keep in mind that battery-powered electric vehicles were also invented in the 19th century. So it would appear that the presumable derogatory 19th century reference is non-functional.

The evolution of batteries was on hold for a century, pressurized by the auto-petro cartel. Electric motors are so simple and efficient they don’t need much more enhancements they did have a 100 years ago.

Au contraire, Mr. Knight –

Look again: You quoted me yourself: “Obsolete, 19th century ICE technology”.

Your point is moot. Electric car technology is NOT OBSOLETE! No matter that it was also brought forth in the 19th, 20th or 21st!

Well I guess Tesla is lathing that Volkswagen got their hands cough in the cookie jar for cheating on their emissions tests and are now being hit with a muti billion fine worth more then Tesla’s whole Gigia Factory.

Yes, and now VW is ‘endlessly sorry’. I am not sure the CEO of VW knew how prophetic those words would be. In other words this is not going to go away anytime soon. VW may go away though, sooner than anyone imagined.

The VW CEO resigned. Whaddya know.
Who’s sorry now?

Winterkorn – “I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.”
Realllllyyyy.. OOHHH KAYYY

But he is really, really, sorry:

Hopefully, Volkswagen and ex-CEO Winterkorn learned a lesson at the School of Hard NOx. 😀

It is especially ironic that the Volkswagen emissions scandal was exposed by an American named John German. LOL!


“the school of “hard NOx”

too funny

Huge amounts of money should be invested in EV’s because that’s the future and it will lead to a cleaner planet.
So as per the point of view of the entire humanity is is totally wrong, now as per the point of view of a shareholder of Apple, he is 100% right. It is like Tesla, Tesla is an enterprise that has a huge value as far as transforming society is concerned, however as far as a shareholder expecting return on investment that’s a totally different story. Many EV enthousiast commenting here got this completely mixed up most of the time I noticed.

I think it depends on how long you plan to invest.

“there is no reason to assume that Apple, with no experience will suddenly do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, or Hyundai.”

Tesla did just that Bob, and they didn’t Apple’s $200 billion.

It’s not black and white. Lutz may be right looking at today’s situation (battery tech and supply pricing and state of charging networks etc.).

But Apple will only release a first car by around 2020, by then battery tech (on the verge of early solid state batteries?) and pricing (for advanced Li-Ion) will have progressed.

No wonder most car companies will only seriously finish new BEVs and PHEVs by around 2018-2020.

GM’s Bolt and the Nissan Leaf 2.0 will probably be the two starting points for this new wave by 2017.

Bob, riddle me this: How many vehicles did VW, GM, and Toyota recall last year? Now, how many Tesla’s were recalled?
Just trot out the old war horse of the car industry to comment on the new thoroughbred.
Not gonna cut the mustard.

Instead of #’s, compare percentages. That would be more relevant.

You mean like GM recalled 102% of vehicles it made last year? Yeah that sounds a lot better than GM recalled 13 million cars.

Oh, and rip to Yogi Berra, it ain’t over till its over. Yogi: its over!

From your article “The surge is the result of new standards at GM. The automaker says it’s issuing recalls more quickly when reports of problems emerge.”
So it’s GM being proactive. Tesla fixes things, but doesn’t call it a “recall”.

What percentage of cars built last year were recalled? I’m not talking about cars built years ago (many over a decade ago) that were recalled. And when you sell 170 times as many vehicles as Tesla, and many different models vs. 1, I’m guessing QC is a more difficult task.

This is pretty interesting.

Yeah, and some recalls are really non events, so it is difficult to compare them across the board no matter what metrics you use.
The video talks about recalls over a number of years, that is true, but these were serious events that resulted in deaths, mutilations, paralysis etc… Also with the full knowledge and complicity of the companies involved.

So how do percentage those? By saying we are only culpable in 0.02% of the deaths of those that drove our vehicles. It seems like a methodology to minimize wrongdoing.

So not only percentage of recalls but the seriousness of injuries that were caused by failure to fix the problems, and the cover-ups, must be included in the final analysis.

Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.
Business woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?
Narrator: You wouldn’t believe.
Business woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?
Narrator: A major one.

Sounds like the calclations of the exploding 1974 Ford Pinto gas tank.

Because Tesla simply doesn’t call the bearing plonking repair a recall… Tesla has very high warranty repair costs, technically every warranty repair is some kind of recall, that should have not happened.

You have a point, albeit a very small one.

Can you imagine what Elon and Tesla could do if they had $100 billion?

Sometimes it’s the lack of money that forces innovation. Just look at Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. When he was on his rookie contract, he brought the Hawks to three consecutive playoffs, 2 Super Bowls and a World Championship. Now that he has signed an $87.5 million contract, he just purchased a $6.5 million home on Lake Washington and has busied himself chasing minor pop star, hip-hop dancer, rapper’s ex, Ciara around the world. Did his game suffer? You bet. The Hawks are 0-2 and heading nowhere fast.

Money corrupts as much as it enhances.

One problem in government are the people who believe if you just keep throwing more money at a problem, it will be solved.

Throwing money at a problem… I recall the Apollo Space Program, being in a similar situation. No one had sent humans offworld before; the technology didn’t yet exist.

So you’re saying: Toss enough smart people onto a problem, and it will be solved– America went to the MOTHA F’N MOON!!!

What was your point, again?

Shouting about the Apollo project calls you out as a nutball. Thank for doing that. Firstly, the Cold War drove JFK to initiate the mandate to place men on the moon. The project was carried out as a military project in wartime. Wartime forces innovation and it’s one time when both political parties lay down their differences for a common good. Today, the term, “moonshot” is commonly used to describe a great effort that succeeds for the betterment of mankind. In fact, GM, Motortrend, Autoweek, WSJ and BusinessWeek- amongst many others – called the Chevrolet Volt a “moonshot” many times. Yet, just like the USA’s actual moonshot – They did achieve their goal of a revolutionary invention that did something that never has been done before ( Jay Leno may disagree, so I’ll say no PHEV has ever been made with such practical abilities ), but like NASA with the moon landings, GM spend a whole ton of money for a project they neatly packaged, greatly promoted and then limited it to a few missions which seriously – DID NOT change the world. To your moonshot, I’ll remind you of the literally thousands of inane, insane and mismanaged government programs… Read more »

“… and I am only saying this because I care – there are a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market today that are just as tasty as the real thing.”

I agree we continue to throw over $500 billion per year to the military industry to bring peace and security but it never comes…we are in a state of perpetual conflict and paranoia on Earth.

I wonder what kind of base on the Moon, Venus, Mars or Titan we could have with on half that amount of 500 billion dollars per year?
You could likely do it all simultaneously since it largely surpass what’s needed for a reusable MCT.

Those bases would be the envy of the world. But what would we call a human born on the moon?

Well, we can’t call them “Moonies” – that was taken by popular media to identify followers of the late psycho, Messiah claimant, Sun Myung Moon.

We can’t call them “Mooneyes” as that is a patented trademark of the famous Lake Speed streamliner disc wheel covers…

We can’t call them “Moon Units” because that is the name chosen by the late Frank Zappa for his daughter, Moon Unit Zappa…

It’s considered “cheeky” if one “moons” somebody…

I’m stumped. What do you think?

I don’t particularly care about Bob’s opinion on whether or not Apple is building a car. However, I’m not convinced that Apple is actually building a car either. Given the type of business that Apple (and Google) are in, it is far more likely that they are building the “brains” of the next generation car. What they are likely aiming to do is build the software, and the supporting hardware, to license and integrate into the cars of the future to facilitate better device integration between different devices. I don’t think Apple has the desire or energy to attack the challenges and regulatory requirements or hurtles necessary to bring a full on car to market. Remember, Elon went bankrupt and had to borrow money from friends to get Tesla off the ground, and that was after his PayPal billions. I think Apple is fully aware of the fact that trying to start their own “Apple Autos” would cause the vast majority of that $150 billion they’re sitting on to evaporate. They may be looking to spend some of that cash on something, but I don’t think they want to see it all disappear in something that may or may not… Read more »

Apple has a lot more money than Elon did.

True, but they’d probably end up sinking the majority of the cash their sitting on into a car manufacturing business,and I don’t think they want to do that.

You mean a few percent of their spare money.
And you want them to invest it in what? Breeding Dexter cows in Moon lava tubes? There are not so many investments you can make out of the standard pot.

The Car Connection made what I think is a very astute observation:

“However, Lutz does hit upon a very interesting idea as far as manufacturing is concerned — and he seems to do so without realizing it. When asked about whether Apple could outsource the building of the vehicles themselves, he responds:

‘They could get Hyundai, Kia or a Chinese manufacturer to manufacture the cars for them and then they would put all of their software and interconnectivity in it afterwards, but I don’t see the advantage to that…’

Except that’s exactly the advantage that Apple has employed to create millions upon millions of iPhones, iPads, and other much-loved devices. Apple doesn’t build the iPhone, it has suicidally inclined workers at Foxconn do all that.”

Apple creates new markets, not simply build versions of something that already exists.

Lutz (and most people commenting here) have misunderstood that Apple is really attempting to redefine transportation, rather than build cars, as is Google with driver-less pods.

The only California company building conventional cars (albeit with unconventional drive-trains) is Tesla.

Really? Apple Music is a me-too music streaming service, no different than the music streaming services that existed before its introduction.

If electric vehicles allow traditional automakers to stay in business by keeping those automakers compliant with regulations, then they aren’t “money losers.” Electric vehicles allow traditional automakers to continue to do money-making business.

“So I think this is going to be a giant money pit.”

Good news Bob!

Apple has piles of cash and they’re looking for pits to throw it in.

Follow the money. Look at who is paying him and you will probably see the source is from someone who has an interest in keeping ICE cars on the road.

Yahoo actually had a funny parody article on the Apple car:

I hope Lutz’s head explodes soon.

What, like the money losing Model S? Oh, wait…

“Isn’t that (the ‘killer app’) exactly what the electric vehicle could be, at least if it was packaged in a way people actually wanted?”

Um, sure, maybe? *If* the actual initial cost of the car could miraculously be brought down to the same level as comparable gas cars? While 2019 is a few years away, I don’t have a lot of faith that it will happen in only 4 years.

There’s only one market in the world right now that’s like this, and even so, EVs only enjoy a 20% market share of all new cars sold. Even that’s not killer-app territory.

The media seem to love Lutz because he can always be counted on to drop in a few bombshells and make any number of outrageous statements, and all within the space of a 180 second sound-bite. The media thrives on controversy, and Lutz is a gold mine for anybody who interviews him. He’s “good copy” so he gets lots of interviews and air time. He’s cranky and opinionated and often wrong, but you gotta love him for creating the Volt…. or so everybody says…. In this video why is Lutz advising Apple shareholders to start raising hell with the company over the autonomous car ? He doesn’t own any Apple Shares by his own admission. It’s none of his business what Apple does or doesn’t do. Lutz doesn’t have any money sunk into Apple, so why all the razzmatazz ? The reason Lutz is playing spoiler here is because Bob Lutz doesn’t personally like the autonomous car or the idea of Apple actually building electric cars, so he’s trying to stir up trouble for Apple with the line: “If I were a shareholder, I would be very upset….” What a pain in the ass. It would be very interesting to… Read more »


“The media seem to love Lutz because he can always be counted on to drop in a few bombshells and make any number of outrageous statements,”

That’s why I always liked Barry Goldwater. ….and before you say bad things about Barry
please know before he died he said:

“The only thing I regret is the dam at Lake Powell.”

“If I had it do over again I would have voted to against it”


There is hope but it seems fleeting at best

What is to like about the autonomous car? For generation Y’ers, the prospect seems attractive…They don’t want to drive – what a bother! Somehow, it seems many people are attracted to this “future-think” where cars drive them instead of vice-versa.

You tell me how this could be A) Ever be legally possible ( will everyone be required to sign a waiver before getting a driver’s license?! B) Safe. When space shuttles and fighter planes commonly plunge into the ground or explode in the atmosphere, and these machines have double-triple failsafe mechanisms…When your personal computer gives you the blue screen of death…How is it that we can blindly put faith in a car to get us through the maze that is driving on public roads?!

Answer: It will never happen. You who speak like it’s just around the corner watch far too many sci-fi flicks with robot taxi cabs and flying cars.

I’m not sure I saw the real point of the interview.

Apple has plenty of cash to burn at the moment, and can put its logo on a chinese manufactured car, probably to their specifications.

Apple in the past has shown great marketing prowess…. They may come up with the right combination of EV features that people really have to have, as an affordable CUV for instance.

Or a small pickup truck, — now there are very small companies making single digits of these things, and Smith electric is making larger vans for pepsico, but the small truck market could use a major brand name behind it.

Lutz seemed to be asking more questions than anything. Apple’s board of directors probably has some answers or hunches.

As Lutz admitted, its not a bad position for Apple to be in. Even if they lose $30 billion, no one will at least now, notice.

Apple might even turn out if not a revolutionary product, at least a decent workable product that many want to own.

As Lutz himself might say, “Whats wrong with that?”.

Good job having an old, out of date, known naysayer on the show.


James said:

“One problem in government are the people who believe if you just keep throwing more money at a problem, it will be solved.”


So long as Elon insists on micromanaging everything at Tesla and SpaceX, not to mention having a hand in a SolarCity, I’m not sure that having huge wodges more money would make much difference. He’s over-committed on time as it is. Tesla would be able to grow faster, and SpaceX test flights would happen at a faster pace, but I question there would be that much difference in what they’re doing. Development of the Model ≡ has to wait on the Gigafactory producing a new type of battery cell, and getting a new factory up and running isn’t something that can be accelerated much by throwing money at it.

He is such an @$$

This guy is so dumb. He deserves to be slapped by anyone that wants to slap him.

Bob who? Is he even relevant? Or is he just another talking head?

Well. Apple got cash and money talks.

The way it is going, Apple can buy up VW for cheap and use its manufacturing capablity to produce its own EVs which don’t rely on VW SW engineers for the codes…

Bob says whatever he gets paid to say!!!

Bob Lutz is one of the last great car guys to be an executive of a major car company. There are some others, but Bobs the man. He gets things done.

Bob Lutz is a clown. The press loves clowns, because they say stupid things. I’m sure before he spoke, Bob lit up a cigar, rotary dialed his golf buddies, had a few chuckles about Apple – then said stupid things for the press to reprint.

The world has progressed beyond Bob Lutz’s relevance.