Bob Lutz On Tesla Motors (Video)


lutzIn typical Bob Lutz fashion, nothing is held back.

As always, Mr. Lutz is fairly consistent with his assessment of Tesla’s battery energy storage system, but the way in which he delivers his message is, as usual, pretty brash.

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130 Comments on "Bob Lutz On Tesla Motors (Video)"

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somebody put something in Bobs coffee.

I’m worried though. Just judging by how his left side of his mouth droops, he hasn’t had a stroke recently, did he?

With all the head shaking, I’d say Pre-Parkinson’s.


Lutz Lost It
– Lutz is THREE Generations Old in Battery Tech.
– The problem with lead acid batteries is: LEAD and ACID. Nasty, no cycle life low capacity.
– As someone supposedly employed to to push a Hybrid Truck, with batteries, he sounds like he should retire.

Is really a comedian first he says he is not an analyst them he implies you should sell the stock because it is at the top.

This is the same guy who argues with Neil Degrasse Tyson that global warming is not real I think he maybe the the person to replace the Steven Cobert

This first comment, actually says it all. Just advising you not waste your time reading the rest. Imho.

A lot of negativity from someone who hasn’t achieved a fraction of what Musk has.

He is fluent in English, Swiss German, German, French and has a modest fluency in Italian. He entered The United States Marine Corps Reserve’s 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and supporting two of four young daughters by selling vacuum cleaners in Walnut Creek, California. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Boston University in 1985, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Management from Kettering University in 2003.[5] He is a trustee of the Marine Corps University Foundation and the Marine Military Academy.[6]

This was just his early life before he became Upper management at Ford , Chrysler and GM.

Learning a few languages, joining the marines, getting honorary degrees, and becoming a successful businessman is impressive, but, c’mon, Musk has been much more transformative than Lutz.

Really. It is a bit of a stretch to put them in the same category. Musk has far surpassed Lutz in a much shorter period of time. He is more in the class of a Steve Jobs. Rare individuals, not mere corporation men, such as Lutz.

I think Musk is in a class by himself, he does things he thinks the world needs, profit is a byproduct.

Paypal,SolarCity,SpaceX,and Tesla Motors.

Musk has accomplished orders of magnitude more at 43 than Lutz has over his entire career.

At the first reading, i thought it was his obituary !

Did you mean GM the car company that went BK
if not for taxpayers would be gone

Bob Lutz
was a high level manager at GM the car company that went BK
if not for taxpayers would be gone

He seems to be like a hi level manager at a lot of old school companies ” Pontificates of subjects he seems to know nothing about ”
Please interview a battery expert

The Language He speaks MOST FLUENT Is The “BS” HUNGAWA He Majored & mastered That Language Well..Because, “BS” got him where he is Today & made him more Money than he should have ever Deserved to make …..

I’m not sure what his military record or amount of kids has to do with anything? By the way, I know someone who is fluent in 6 languages. That makes her an excellent translator, not a great commenter on the car industry

bob came from the industry that had no competition and advanced people that could talk a lot. when competition entered the market they became what they are today. average. about Bob though, wow an embarrrassing picture of a “leader”.

I can’t speak to Tesla’s profitability or potential profitability. I really don’t know enough about that aspect to say. But I can say that I think Tesla’s product is very much in danger of being displaced by cheaper alternatives in the next few years. I think right now most of the people buying a Model-S are simply buying because it is an exclusive vehicle. Some are buying maybe because they want an EV with long range. Well, here soon Tesla will no longer have a monopoly on long-range EVs. And I’m pretty sure these giant car companies can produce these cars cheaper than Tesla.

The legacy car companies cannot produce a cheaper long range BEV than Tesla.

They have to get started on producing large scale battery factories of their own to guarantee access to cheap large volume of batteries needed.

Signing contracts with LG Chem or Samsung SDI for a fraction of their capacity will not do.

I think the large auto companies actually have the advantage, because they make so many cars, they can negotiate much cheaper contracts for all of the parts of the car. They also have a lot more experience building cars.

The only gray area is the battery, which prices are falling, and it is become less & less of a percentage of the car cost.

The large companies have shown their current market conditions hamper them from getting into revolutionary products. They are at the disadvantage. Look at what Kia and Honda DEALERS have don’t to their companies offerings in the USA.

Look at Ford. Dead in the water.

The question of incumbents transforming to new categories is not simply a matter of what they “can” do but also what they’re able to do. There are more obstacles than you admit. Cannabilization of their current products / revenue, institutional inertia, and a financial incentive structure that only rewards short term maximization of revenue and profit are much bigger obstacles than some generic desire to compete. In fact, incumbents don’t like to compete.


And that is why legacy technology makers never, ever lead disruptive tech revolutions, and why new companies will always out-compete them in the market for the new tech. That doesn’t necessarily mean Tesla will continue to be the only one out-competing them, or even that Tesla is guaranteed to survive long-term.

But it will be new companies selling PEVs (or companies newly entering the market, like Apple did with the smart phone market) which will first make significant income selling PEVs… not traditional gasmobile manufacturers.

I agree and that is why all the delays are so dangerous for Tesla. Tesla doesn’t have a very big window of opportunity, the competitors are rapidly getting closer and they have vastly better manufacturing potential and sales networks.

Tesla has been quite smart and a bit lucky so far with their direct sales and guerrilla marketing but that is only going to get them so far. They need to start shifting product for real and they need to do it soon.

Having a successful first product (if you consider the Roadster as more of a prototype) is great to start with but then you have to follow that up with an even greater product, otherwise people will get disappointed and your brand will take a huge hit. It is absolutely essential that the model 3 be a market leading product but the longer it takes Tesla to get it out there the less likely that is to happen. If the model 3 is as delayed as the X is chances are that competitors will have surpassed Tesla when it finally does comes out and then Tesla is history.

“Someone out there” said:

“It is absolutely essential that the model 3 be a market leading product but the longer it takes Tesla to get it out there the less likely that is to happen.”

This is a commonly repeated fallacy. Tesla isn’t aiming to compete with the Bolt, the Leaf 2.0, or any other BEV. Even if the Model ≡ could steal 100% of the BEV market, it would be only a small fraction of the number of cars Tesla plans on selling every year by 2020.

Tesla has its sights set on a bigger goal. It’s aiming to compete with the gasmobiles which will still be 98% or so of the new car market by 2018 or 2019, when significant numbers of the Model ≡ start rolling off the production line.


Planning to sell something and actually doing so is two very different things.

I think the stock holders of Tesla would have something to say if the model 3 turned out to be a ‘meh’ when it finally comes out (compared to the available EVs at that time). If so they won’t be competing with any gas cars at all, their competitors will.

Perhaps Elon Musk’s personal goal is to change the car market but Tesla is far bigger than just Elon Musk.

David, you need to carefully review Tesla’s battery developments on this web site. No One is going to beat Tesla to a better, cheaper battery.

“And I’m pretty sure these giant car companies can produce these cars cheaper than Tesla.”

Maybe. But even if they do, that might not be good enough. If the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 were exactly the same quality & aesthetics, I would pay up to $5K more or so for the Model 3 because of the ability for the Model 3 to access the Supercharger network.

Bob Lutz is wrong on lithium.
There is roughly 4 Kg of Lithium in a P85 Tesla S. Supply isn’t an issue.

He dodged the question on mocking Tesla but reality is they will have to catch up if Tesla ever release the Model 3.

“Catching up” means getting into the battery business, which most does or at least they do have a scenario and knows where to go if they ever need to. They know how to make cars and making them electric is easier than ever.

Well the fact that there is so little lithium in the battery does mean the bulk of it is made of commodity materials freely available to anyone at roughly the same cost. That is what he meant, although he said it poorly.

Pending any dramatic technology break though, battery manufacturing really is a high scale commodity business with little differentiation.

The gigafactory is really there because Tesla needs so many batteries in one place, not because it has any significantly greater manufacturing efficiency than the similarly scaled LG distributed factory model.

QCO said:

“Pending any dramatic technology break though, battery manufacturing really is a high scale commodity business with little differentiation.”

That’s quite far from the truth, for at least two reasons:

1. Tesla is using Panasonic cells with significantly higher energy density than cells being used by other EV makers.

2. Multiple EV makers are going to start using LG Chem’s new, cheaper-per-kWh battery cells. Even Nissan, which previously was supplied by NEC for cells for Leaf, will switch to using cells from LG Chem. Those EV makers certainly seem to place great emphasis on cost differences which you dismiss as “little differentiation”.

Lead acid batteries suck for energy storage because of the amount of maintenance they require and their short life time (charging cycles). There are other reasons for Li-Ion except weight.

On top of that lead acid requires much more space.

Land is not free.

It is more efficient to have storage at the substation level. As in many metro areas. Not in the middle of a hot desert.

Oups, someone not seeing the new emperor’s clothes.

Suddenly I got soooo sleepy. What did he say in the Video about Tesla? Did I miss something important? 🙂


I think Bob Lutz last statement is definitive:
“I don’t see it.” Yes Bob and you did not see it coming either.
1. Their stock is way overvalued.
Perhaps though if you had bought some at the recent lows back in March at $185 you could have made a killing.
2. They sell an small number of vehicles.
True though they outsold other luxury brands such as Mercedes, Bmw, Porche, so numbers of vehicles sold alone is not the only criteria to make a successful company.
Too many platitudes an old information to be of much value in regards to an appraisal of Tesla. A poisoned well.

Thanks ffbj. You’ve written almost exactly what I was thinking. 🙂

I’m generally a big Maximum Bob fan…

but in this case I think Mr. Lutz’s views about Tesla are biased by his VIA Motors venture which makes Tesla a competitor to Lutz’s business interests.

He knows what he is talking about that is why GM went bankrupt and now is fitting batteries into a GM truck after remove all the ICE parts. I don’t think he could even possible understand 21st century technology

Regardless of whether he is right or not, since when was telling like you see it considered “Brash”?

That’s what’s wrong with the country now… we’re too sensitive to face the truth.

We need more frank language that gets to the point. Stop the PC BS.

I’m with you, brother. I’ll give it a try…

You are a simpleton who doesn’t understand the value of deference and respect to those who might be more informed than you. Your defense of spewing tactless opinions under the bravado of “telling it like it is” makes you a self-centered blowhard not worthy of speaking to adults.

…Yeah, that felt right. By your comment, I’m sure you are not too sensitive to hear “the truth.”

Touché douché!

Thank you for proving my point.

I didn’t prove your point, I agreed with it. There is a difference. You seem too dumb to understand that (I’m being frank, like you want me to be – we’re on the same side!). I should be allowed to say anything I want and other people shouldn’t get upset at what I say. I don’t have to be smart. I dont have to be logical. I don’t have to be considerate or respectful. It’s simple, like you. It’s the lowest common denominator politics of getting the angry mob behind you. Who needs intellect and rationality? It’s the politically correct way to act for swaggering ignorami. Wait a minute, you’re the one acting politically correct! Perhaps some self-awareness/reflection is in order.

“I’m being frank. . . .”

No. You’re being a jerk and a troll. 😀

I’m not using intellectual judo to demonstrate that Kosh’s point supports anti-intellectual neanderthalism?

Actually, what you’re doing is something more like this. 😉

You haven’t made it clear how calling me a jerk and a troll relates to the discussion about telling the “truth” and political correctness. If you have something of substance to add, I’d like to hear it. If you don’t, you are a poopy.

Spot on!

only thing is what he said was BS

Lutz is brash, and loud, when he is wrong and brash when he is right. The problem is this idiot has been gets lots of coverage wrong or right, and he is wrong a lot more than he is right.

Is he right about lead acid versus lithium. No of course he isn’t. He just is misinformed, but when you honor the idiots for being brave then you make us all be less of value. He was wrong about bevs, hybrids, SUVs, climate change, etc. He looks like he may be right about phevs and gas taxes. OK a monkey slinging poo is probably right more often if you make the targets right. So why do people still listen to this guy? He says some things they want to hear.

Every interview with Lutz should start with him being asked, “Do you still think climate change is a crock of s***, or do you now agree with the scientists of the world?” Just to, you know, establish some context for how seriously one should take everything he says after that first answer.


Bob Lutz is an interesting character; but, he hasn’t kept up with battery technology, judging by his statement on using lead acid batteries over lithium.

He believes in the wall street driven system of quick profits. Elon Musk sees it different and is growing his companies vertically integrated which takes a much longer time.

BL gave us crappy cars that mostly are rotting in scrap yards . Elon is showing us a brilliant future.

Old dogs really do have a harder time keeping up with these tech & physics savvy pups… 🙂

Bark on, ol’ dawg. Bark on.

This nut thinks climate change is a hoax. We don’t need to know anything else about him …

If Lutz can’t use his own eyes and see the global drought and rapid melt down in the arctic and antarctic, then he’s not qualified for any judgement calls about any subject.

Ok Bob,
Thank’s for your opinion, but how’s VIA doing? Making many vehicles yet? Making a profit yet? Pot calling kettle black. Come back when you have delivered 70,000 trucks.

Lutz Is A Lucky Closed Minded Has been. Useless To Anyone Including Himself,NOW!Nobody needs Primitive advice & BS opinions…..

Lutz made a lot of sense in this video.

Oh, I am sorry, was I supposed to automatically agree with all the Teslaheads here?

To Who? The “ICE” Enthusiasts ?


Are Teslaheads sort of like Rush Limbaugh’s ditto heads? 😉

Yep. Except the exact opposite.
The TeslaHeads see reality, the Dittoheads are the gullible fools with old-timers.

If I threw a baseball at you would you be able to mitigate the impact velocity?

Upon impact I don’t believe you could lose anymore brain cells 🙂

No, but it would help your own reputation here if you recognized that much of what Lutz said was at best ill-informed, and in some cases factually wrong.

For example: Lead-acid cheaper overall than li-ion? Not when the cost over several years is considered. That hasn’t been true for several years now.

LOL, typical conservative answer. Stick your heads in the sand (or maybe someplace else) and hope that the power of unfettered money, cynical manipulation, and political inertia will triumph over reality or science and education!

Ummmm…it has?

Tesla is pretty small but Panasonic isn’t the “giga-factory” is a joint venture. Will batteries become magically cheaper if you make them in really really big numbers instead of just big numbers probably not but the chances are the cars will get much cheaper as you mass produce them. I don’t think that the power wall is that novel, what is novel is that it is sharing components with a car and links into a business with solar. Any one venture might not be profitable bring them together as a package and their are efficiency savings. Selling only petrol is probably not profitable selling petrol, gas, diesel, fertilizer, hydrogen, chemicals, plastics, etc.. is a very profitable business. Tesla is interesting because they are looking to own a big % of my fixed salary costs – power bill, car and fuel costs what other major out goings do I have? home loan, health insurance, schooling, phone? You are talking about taking $1000’s off a person a year in return for power and transport. Tesla is all about the brand and the business model. IMO Nissan (who already mass produce cheap cars) are more likely to mass produce an affordable EV than… Read more »

BTW I think Bob might be right the cost might be in the raw materials, perhaps that’s why no one is offering to sell you a “new” battery, I only see replacement offers – i.e. your new battery costs your old battery + money. I can’t see a future where batteries are dumped in land fill.

Very interesting analysis.

Thank you, I always appreciate positive feed back.

Good God man, punctuate!

Bob Lutz is putting out the inconvenient truth, that is battery chemistry gains are not there any more. There is a nice QZ article about changing the way manufacturing LiOn batteries, since the current method is based on re-purposing magnetic tape manufacturing machines (SONY’s fault) legacy. Model S and Model X are great cars and there may be some intellectual property ingenuity with Tesla arranging cells, but their battery chemistry is same as others and their manufacturing process is not that significantly different. So, to Bob’s point Tesla is neither profitable nor has scale and their current valuation is out of whack. In spite of vastly subsidized Giga factory, GM does not seem to need something like that for Bolt and Nissan wins the numbers game. Comparing Quality and Experience of Ultra lux vehicle with a common sedan, is what the press is doing thus far, and that is going to change with Model 3 series for Tesla, we shall see.

“There is a nice QZ article about changing the way manufacturing LiOn batteries, since the current method is based on re-purposing magnetic tape manufacturing machines (SONY’s fault) legacy.”

A co-founder of A123 just came out with a new way of manufacturing Li-ion batteries. He refers to them as semi-solid Li-ion cells.

And Tesla can out with a presentation here, where they analyzed the additives uses in the Li batteries, with one combination giving a increase of 20X to the lifetime of the battery.

So, shock Lutz is a poorly informed fool.

“Will batteries become magically cheaper if you make them in really really big numbers instead of just big numbers probably not…”

There isn’t anything “magic” about the cost savings in scaling production. And the Gigafactory might well result in significant cost savings by massive vertical integration, in the same way that the Ford River Rouge complex succeeded in significant cost savings in massive vertical integration, in producing automobiles.

There’s no guarantee that the Gigafactory will succeed in the amount of cost reduction that Musk talks about, but neither is there any guarantee that it’s impossible to reduce costs that much… as all too many Tesla bashers keep claiming.


Bob Lutz has some kind of thing for Tesla. Instead of being so negative about Tesla, he should jus send Elon Musk his resume and apply for a job as a consultant.

And Tesla could use some of Bob’s help. Like how to avoid mistakes like the falcon doors with the upcoming Model 3.

Lutz Would be of Negative HELP ..Especially To TESLA ..

jimjam – Obviously you must be kidding. You certainly didn’t include any facts to support your opinion.

No Need To .., Just Watch & Listen To The Video…

This was a very illuminating.

Not in what Bob Lutz said, since I didn’t detect any comment which was not really Mr. Lutz’s opinion, which is what he stated it was.

What was illuminating was the immaturity of the comments here.


The Tesla effect is incredible, it’s almost religious in nature. There are those who will defend everything Tesla have done or claim to be thinking of doing despite never even seeing a Tesla. I am certainly not anti-Tesla but I do find the Tesla following quite disturbing.

Really. You’re going to go with the moron who thinks LEAD and ACID make a good battery.

Good luck with that, hope you don’t invest with that brain.

Well…, He’s 83 yrs 0ld You Know?

BOB KnowS Very little to NOTHING! Just @ the rite Place @ the RITE Time WITH the Rite Connections ……………Peace Out

Lutz is very right about one thing: Longevity… Its quite obvious half the posters here are basing their BIG EXPERT opinions on the lousy junk batteries they put in cars. People really don’t realize how dumb they appear since they’ve just shown to someone knowledgable they have no idea what they are talking about.

Stationary applications typically get “Long Life Lead” lead-acid batteries, which have a prorated warranty for 25 years. There is no real incentive to make them lightweight in this application, but there is an incentive to make the GOOD. Thats why they last 25 years or more.

Show me a cell phone that has had its battery last 25 years.

A mobile phone from 25 years ago probably had a Ni-Cd battery in it, but I get the point.

I think 25 years is a bit of stretch but I am sure you could get a 10 year, 1000+ deep discharge warranty.

’25 years is a bit of a stretch’

The AT&T Lineage (R) cell has a 40 year working life, and aging tests have shown many cells will still work after 70 years. 30 years in hard service.

This is no experimental cell. There are over a million of them in use, many running telephone and cell stations (the larger ones).

Are we talking sealed Lead Acid or flooded? How does the cycle life of these two lead acid batteries compare to Li-Ion? I always thought Lead Acid had a relatively low cycle life (roughly 500 to 800 cycles).

No we’re about flooded stationary backup batteries. There is usually not a huge amount of charge/discharge cycles in this application.

Just as the 10 kw Tesla Powerwall is for emergency backup only – you have to buy the 7kw version for ‘Grid Arbitrage’ (daily deep cycle). The 10 kw Powerwall version is not designed for daily discharges and per Tesla, will not be long lived if you try.

Stationary backup batteries just have to work when the Utility power fails, and also once a month when the emergency facilities are tested.

But you are to be congratlated for at least asking an intelligent question.

Thank you, I do try to recognize when I don’t know something.

I will, at some point, be building an off-grid house (hence my curiosity) and I was hoping to avoid the high maintenance involved with flooded lead acid. Especially since I won’t be living in the house full time until retirement.

I don’t understand this ‘huge maintenance’ issue. Just keep the batteries from getting too hot (if you have a huge amount, a solar powered ‘attic’ fan for the garage is probably sufficient) – it only runs when the sun is shining. 1). Once a year, refill with distilled water to the manufacturer’s level. 2). Also once a year, give it an equalizing charge, or if youre afraid to do that, or your equipment isn’t set up for it, take cells voltage readings and bring any straglers up to the rest of the cells. Of course, if they are in the typical clear polystyrene jars, look for early signs of any developing problems, then disassemble the cell and repair any parts going bad. As I say, a good commercial grade of cell will last 25 years and as I say, the AT&T Lineage (R) round cells (R) have a design life of at least 30, typically 40, and some will last 70 years. I just mention them as they were the most popular cell used for years in the telecom ‘backup battery’ industry, where they were continually float charged at around 2.17 volts/ cell, with more than a million in use.… Read more »

Holy Mollie!

Those cells require a ton of maintenance.

Here’s the Li titanate maintenance list:
There is no maintenance.

You water your plants far more often that you would water a wet cell battery.

And equalisation is built into the charging equipment, just as lithium ion balancing is built into the BMS systems.

It is not an issue for you but you need to remember that we are a nation where people cannot change their own car oil or change a flat tire anymore.

Now THAT I can do.

Interesting. Some of the info I have read on the subject made it sound as if keeping the batteries filled and maintaining charge equalization were a weekly, or even daily, chore. I’m still a few years away from my off-grid project and from the sound of things it will come down to cost. Right now the Lead Acids have the inside track but in a few years, who knows?

I don’t have an issue with maintenance in of itself. I’m an engineer and can handle basic maintenance on a lot of things. However, my primary concerns are that I won’t be living in the house full time at first and making sure that the house is easy for my wife (who leaves maintenance to me) to manage should I kick the bucket.

One other factor I forgot to mention is footprint. I plan to keep most of the equipment in a utility shed but I don’t want it to turn into some huge thing that looks more like a garage. It will all come down to what my kWh requirements will be and which has the smallest footprint for the cost.

I agree commercial stationary lead acid batteries provide reliable long life for relatively low cost, so they still have their place in storage and backup applications, and it will stay that way for some time.

That might change in the future as lithium batteries become more cost competitive at scale. But regardless of progress, the benefits of lithium over lead acid for stationary applications will never be as significant as the benefits for traction applications like BEVs. Weight and density are priorities for vehicles, but not for stationary applications.

For that reason the bulk of lithium battery production will likely end up in traction applications rather than stationary applications when electric vehicle volume really does take off.

What about footprint? Don’t Lead Acid batteries have a larger footprint? That might be a problem if you have space constraints.

I don’t think the Tesla Powerwall will be used JUST as back-up by most consumers. That is just not an economical application for it. It would just sit there doing absolutely nothing useful 99.8% of the time. Why would people pay thousands of dollars for that? Some rich people will and some people with critical medical equipment will . . . but other than that, it doesn’t make much sense.

I think most Powerwalls will be for off-grid installations or grid-tied installations that use the battery for more than just back-up. And there are a number of such uses generically called ‘grid services’. These include things like frequency regulation, demand-response, peak shaving, demand-charge avoidance, etc. And if you start doing those ‘grid services’, the lead-acid battery is no longer a good choice.

If it is going to provide “grid services” then someone else can pay for it.

For off grid storage it is hard to beat low cost wet cell lead acid, at least at this point in time.

Well….yeah. For some of those services (frequency regulation, demand-response, etc.) the utility would pay the battery owner.

Good grief, Bill. Lithium-ion batteries have around 2.5-3 times the average life of lead-acid batteries, when used for stationary storage. Furthermore, the rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t use more than 50% of the kWh capacity of deep cycle lead-acid batteries, whereas li-ion is typically cycled to 80% of capacity.

That’s why it’s now cheaper to invest in li-ion for home energy storage, if you plan to maintain the system for 10 or more years.

So, next time perhaps you should check your facts before claiming a Tesla enthusiast posting here doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Tesla enthusiasts, including me, aren’t always right. But we certainly do have a much better batting average than Tesla bashers!

No shortage of clowns on this website.

Jeez you must make this stuff up – \ “Good grief, Bill. Lithium-ion batteries have around 2.5-3 times the average life of lead-acid batteries, when used for stationary storage.” What a silly statement. Not some theoretical telephone, but the wall telephone in my kitchen has its emergency power coming from 65% AT&T Lineage Round Cells (R) (they added some more strings of Exide brand batteries when putting in all the FIOS equipment, as well as the Video Router for the pay per view junk, its true the batteries started out as -48 volt, +24 volt strings for the old ESS machine that it originally, and then when a newer #5 ESS machine was installed (now an old timer) the original batteries are still used, and they are still given a 3 hour ‘deep cycle’ test every year to sniff out any problem cells. This plant has around a 2600 amp 24 hour a day loading (at 52.08 volts (at the strings) – obviously running thousands of regulated supplies the current goes over 3000 initially – following the discharge current characteristic. But these cells are 36 years old. A few have been replaced, but the vast majority are 36 years old,… Read more »

I’d just like to go on the record by saying I’d like to be as successful in what I do as Bob Lutz

It DOES NOT MATTER HOW IT’S DONE .,As Long As $$$$$$ is Made….I wouldn’t Want that Kind of $$$$

Wow bob lutz knows what he’s talking about no doubt


Bob is being dishonest or is uninformed. Tesla has not made a profit because it is pouring all its money into R&D and capital expenses for the Gigafactory and the Model 3, not to mention free superchargers.
Bob is old school and does not get it. Elon is out to save the planet not make gazillions.
Bob is a dinosaur and should just permanently retire to his soon-to-be-flooded Florida Keys home (true) OR Get with the program !

Firstly let me say what I think Tesla has managed to do so far has defy all skeptics. Now let me mention some points Bob left out. Gm sells around 10 million cars a year. Tesla has sold to date maybe 70k? If you take out equity (cash, equipment value etc) Tesla is worth around 13 billion MORE than GM. Now either this paints Tesla’s shareholders has extremely optimistic (thinking they can predict the next decade+ of growth) or GM’s shareholders as extremely pessimistic. IMO Tesla will sell products, their margins will shrink of course to match GM/Toyota (with a 35k car they will have to) at around 10% margin per car. They are not going to own the entire market, this isnt a winner take all market. Tesla will have to spend tens of billions just to ramp up to the kinda production GM has. While GM can just copy everything Tesla is doing if that’s a successful model. Honestly Tesla Model S is the best car out there. Even with that though I work at a company with many high income young earners and they are still buying audis/bmws models that are at the same price point as… Read more »

Tom said:

“…GM can just copy everything Tesla is doing if that’s a successful model.”

Yeah, the way Eastman Kodak just copied everything Canon and Nikon did with their digital cameras, and they way BlackBerry did just copying everything Apple did with the iPhone.

Oh, wait…

Sorry, Tom, that’s just not what happens in a disruptive tech revolution. Market leaders with the old tech are ponderous and slow to change, and like huge dinosaurs trying to compete with small, nimble mammals, they tend to go extinct.

Everything Bob Lutz said is true. I disagee with his conclusions though.

1. Used Tesla car batteries are cheaper than nickel acid.

2. Sourcing lithium ore from Silver Peak Nevada. And selling A large number of the cars in California really reduces transportation costs.

3. The plant will generate its own electricity. Treat its own water. Recycle all scrap material back into the manufacturing process. Keeping utility costs at a minimum.

4. Tesla builds cars on demand so its inventory costs are minimal. It also doesn’t have a dealer network so it is able to keep all the profits for itself.

5. Tesla can always partner with other companies to share R & D costs.

On a side note I do believe at least one major automaker will be bankrupt in the next few years. ( No it’s not one of the Detroit 3 ) if this happens Tesla will be able to pick up many of its assets for next to nothing, but so could Apple.

I love this thread! So much wonderful sniping and gushing over this person/company or that person/company and dumping on the other guy/company.

Let me just say that no one can predict the future. It is possible to recognize patterns that lead to a certain future outcome, however, that assumes nothing disrupts those patterns. What I see with Bob is that he is reading the existing pattern. What I see with Elon is that he is trying to disrupt the existing pattern. Only time will tell who is ultimately successful.

Correct me if im wrong but i think Bob lutz was the Guy that ordered all of the EV1’s to be crushed. He’s basically a puppet of the oil industry. I don’t care about what he has accomplished. The only thing that I need to know is that he had all the EV1’s crushed. that’s how he feels about electric cars. so he will ALWAYS hate Tesla. Think about it. if the EV1’s weren’t crushed and other products came out tio compete with it way back then; we would have need better batteries early on than we do now. where would we be today?

He also led the push to make the volt. I don’t think you can put the destroying of the EV1 on one guy.

Bob Lutz to my knowledge has always been complementary of Musk (more so than I have been, and I’ve owned a Tesla for 4 years). To have such vile, putrid remards hurled at a Serious person is unbelievable. Lutz was told by GM’s engineering team it was IMPOSSIBLE to make an Electric Car. Lutz used Eberhardt as an example when he said, “If a few guys in a garage can make a vehicle that can go over 200 miles (with existing technology), shouldn’t GM at least TRY to make an electric car?” The VOlt wouldn’t be here without Lutz. Look at the other automakers – lots of promises but no real world products that aren.’t just hacked add ons. As I say the only really serious low cost evs besides GM are the Smart, Imiev, and Nissan – counting only those brands available in the States. Fortunately, Lutz Micro-managed the design of the VOLT. That is why it is so useful a product. My 2011 volt still is far superior in day to day operation in cold weather than any other plug in hybrid. The nearest, latest thing is surprisingly the ELR. THere is NOTHING that is even close to… Read more »

+1 I love Elon but he is not god. If Tesla gets too much into a bubble the collapse of its stock could do more damage for the electric car industry then good (at least in the headlines). I hope Tesla issues more shares somehow right at the top of their valuation so they can have enough cash on hand to right out any bad news.

“I love Elon but he is not god.”

I wouldn’t be so sure. I heard that Elon can walk on water. If he can’t, then he could always jump into his James Bond Lotus submarine/car that he purchased at auction, and take it for a spin underwater. I’m sure that he has it fully functional by now; he is Elon Musk after all. 😉

I’m not a fan of Lutz in the least but he does have some points. It is questionable how much the gigafactory will be able to cut down on battery costs. I suspect it will but how much . . . I don’t know. The Tesla people have put forth some reasons as to why the gigafactory will reduce costs. One is that the amount of shipping that the materials go through from the mine to the final battery pack is large. Raw materials are shipped from the mine to the refiner. The refiner then ships the refined materials to the cell maker. The cell then ships the cells to the pack maker. The pack maker then ships the pack to the car maker. Etc. Presumably, the gigafactory will take in raw materials and ship out battery packs. But how much savings comes from that? Certainly not 30%. Perhaps they can get a price on raw materials with volume purchases. The whole plan is to accumulate a bunch of small savings to add up to a 30% cost reduction. It is old fashioned vertical integration. Will it work? I don’t know. I sure hope so. But Tesla has not convinced… Read more »
Speculawyer said: “But how much savings comes from that? Certainly not 30%. Perhaps they can get a price on raw materials with volume purchases.” I am truly amazed on how many articles there are on whether or not the Gigafactory can actually achieve a 30% cost reduction… how many there are, yet every one of those articles fail to to explore the real potential for cost savings! You’re right, there isn’t a margin of 30% or more savings to be made in vertical integration alone. That’s part of the potential for savings, but certainly not all of it, and probably not the biggest potential. The most important area, the biggest potential for cost savings, is in turning raw materials into processed materials. Far too many ill-informed articles on the subject claim that the cost of what they term “raw materials” is so high that there simply isn’t room for a 30% savings. But if you look into the facts behind those assertions, you quickly discover that the prices they’re quoting are not for raw materials, but rather processed materials. Contrariwise, look at the chart for processing at the Gigafactory: Looks like the plan there really is to take raw… Read more »

Kind of like what Walter White does by using raw methyl amine instead of processed Sudofed. 😉

Are you a process engineer? Sounds like you know your stuff.

Bob Lutz is certainly a entertaining guy and has waxed long and hard at length about all things in the automotive industry except one and that would be excessive executive compensation that sucks the life blood out of car companies and results in new car costs to consumers that are way overinflated.

Sure is a pretty day today.