Bob Lutz On Fuel Cell Tech: “None of it makes any sense”, Other Than For Compliance

SEP 6 2016 BY JAY COLE 91

GM Product Boss Bob Lutz And CEO Rick Wagoner Agreed On A Lot Of Things In Their Day - Fuel Cell Technology Was Not One Of Them

GM Product Boss Bob Lutz And CEO Rick Wagoner Agreed On A Lot Of Things In Their Day – Fuel Cell Technology Was Not One Of Them

You can add one more item on the list of things that Bob Lutz doesn’t like…or at least still doesn’t likefuel cell vehicles.

Over a decade or so ago, fuel cell technology fell off the US government’s map of things to invest in, and as one might expect, US-based fuel cell programs fell by the wayside.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell

But even back then Bob Lutz and GM’s own internal “goto hydrogen guy” Larry Burns (who really was the defacto figure head for the whole North American fuel cell industry at the time), often had a very different opinion of the value of having a fuel cell program.

While Mr. Lutz headed up GM’s product development from 2001 to 2010, Mr. Burns had the ear of (then CEO) Rick Wagoner on why the company should have the industry’s largest fuel cell development program, overriding Bob’s lack of enthusiasm.

In Bob’s book “Car Guys Vs. Bean Counters” he wrote:

“I frequently attacked what I considered to be the single-minded, heavy financial commitment to fuel cells, feeling they were too far out on the time horizon and robbing us of the research funds needed to create more viable near-term solutions.”

GM's FCV program of today will unveil a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle for the Army on October 3

GM’s FCV program of today will unveil a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle for the Army on October 3

Then at the beginning of this decade, Japan, Germany, South Korea (and a couple others) decided they would pick up where the US left off, and made available strong incentives of their own (~$2+ billion worth) to keep the fuel cell ball rolling, spawning creations such as the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson FCV.

A holdover from the “fuel cell good times” of the past, California’s zero emission program (CARB) seemed pleased with the international focus on FCVs, and continues to offer a very generous ZEV credit system to any of those FCV projects that produce US deliveries.

So with the latest generation of FCVs hitting the road (and many more on the horizon), featuring improved technology, lower costs (albeit still pretty high) and actually a few refueling stations dotted around the map, has Bob changed his mind?

In a word – no.

Wardsauto’s Drew Winter tracked down Mr. Lutz to get his take on what is happening today with fuel cells, and if he had changed his mind on the tech.

Mr. Lutz says that today’s programs in the US (including GM’s desire to marry-up with Honda on FCV projects in the future, the first vehicle reportedly arriving by 2020) are all aimed at one thing – “meeting California’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate”.  

Lutz points to the fact a new fuel cell sale in the US can be worth many more ZEV credits (3-4x) than that of a single all-electric sale.

A qualifying fuel cell vehicle nets up to 9 credits, of which would offset some $45,000 in penalties (@ $5,000 per) for any manufacturer not hitting the required fleet minimum in California and CARB states – which start to really increase starting in 2018 (~2% of sales in ZEV credits) through 2025 (~16% of sales in ZEV credits).  FCV credit also are not affected by the loss of the travelling provision like EV credits are.

The next generation Mercedes-Benz fuel cell electric vehicle: Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL prototype. Not only can the GLC F-CELL be refueled with hydrogen in under three minutes at an appropriate filling station: convenient external charging of its high-voltage battery is also possible.

The next generation Mercedes-Benz fuel cell electric vehicle: Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL prototype. Not only can the GLC F-CELL be refueled with hydrogen in under three minutes at an appropriate filling station: convenient external charging of its high-voltage battery is also possible.

Bob also tells WardsAuto:

GM and Honda will jointly put out a retail FCV by 2020

GM and Honda will jointly put out a retail FCV by 2020

Even though the cost of fuel-cell technology has come down, the same problems still are there with mass-producing fueling and storage systems to accommodate hydrogen at 10,000 psi (690 bar) and producing the hydrogen itself in an environmentally friendly process, he says.

The auto industry has experimented with onboard hydrogen storage systems for decades, he adds, including storing it as a cryogenic liquid in a thermos-like fuel tank. “None of it makes any sense,” he says.

Mr. Lutz states that the lithium plug-in battery vehicle market is the superior way to go, and that it (and the fast charging network surrounding plug-in vehicles) is constantly improving, and it is hard to beat the fact “you can plug them in anywhere.”

It isn’t all doom and gloom out of Bob’s lips for FCVs however, the former GM product boss says that public transport and some centrally fueled fleet vehicles might be a good spot for fuel cell technology to find a place.

Check out the full article at Wards Auto here. Hat tip to sven!

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91 Comments on "Bob Lutz On Fuel Cell Tech: “None of it makes any sense”, Other Than For Compliance"

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Wow, I actually agree with Bob Lutz on something. I’m shocked

Ha, that was exactly my first thought as well.

Mine too!

I don’t know why people hate so much on Lutz, he may have zero vision, but at least he tells it like he sees it.

Bob Lutz has zero vision? Are we talking about the same person. The guy that brought the SUV and the Chevy Volt to market. LOL, you must be a billionaire if you consider this a lack of vision.

I was confused by your last sentence at first, because I don’t associate “visionary” with “knows how to make money”. And I consider SUVs a blight on humanity.

And it was the Volt that Killed the Hydrogen car.
But, is Mr. Lutz still a Climate Denier.
You can’t be a “visionary” if you can’t see thru The Fox-Exxon-Pay-To-Play media denial of Global Warming.
And the 100’s of Exxon funded studies that deny Global Warming.

See, propaganda isn’t supposed to be used to fool yourself.

Yep, but here come the resident fool cell shills!

sven the resident fuel cell shill

[Cough] [Cough] You must have missed the part about who sent in the news tip. 😉


Fuel cells are clearly the superior technology. Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the Universe. Our sun is made of it. The Hindenburg was made of it. We’ll soon be able to make hydrogen at the corner drug store. Fill up your car with water. Drive. Wait for rain. Drive again. Use your neighbor’s garden hose.

The future.

News Tip Johnny Hydrogen, There are no Hydrogen Wells on Earth (We Don’t live out there in the Universe, either, and – we are not able to mine and ship H2 from Jupiter back to Earth at a cost below Eleventy Billion, Trillion Yams! (I know – that was a fictitious number – the same kind of Numbers the FCV Boys love!)

‘Fill your car with water and drive’.

That is analogous to trying to make a fire with ashes from a campfire the night before.

A cord of wood has useable heat value. Water, like ashes, does not.

People make the same mistake when they call Carbon Dioxide ‘Carbon’. It is more properly called ‘Oxygen’.

Of course, you are somewhat more correct in calling water, ‘Hydrogen’.

Its much safer than the real Hydrogen.

My sarcasm detection system is flashing red lights and sounding sirens….


Just remember we did not come out of the Stone Age because of the lack of stones just because something is plentiful does not necessarily mean that it is the way forward hydrogen is difficult it poses many problems and in the near-term it’s clearly not viable. That’s easy for any right-minded person to be able to see. At some point it may become a viable solution for the masses. In the near-term its best solution would be for stationary power sources things that don’t move or fleet vehicles where their routes and distances traveled are known and the fueling infrastructure can be centralized anything else is a pipe dream.

But, WOW, 9X the carbon credits for hydrogen. A “solution” that doesn’t solve the problem. Amazing.

The credits almost pay for the full price of the car.
No wonder Toyota and Honda were still pushing these cars with Zero Market Demand.

No, 2.25X the credits for a hydrogen FCV as opposed to BEVs with comparable range.

Currently, HFCVs get 9 credits from CARB, while 200+ mile BEVs (ie Tesla) get 4 credits. Tesla used to get get 7 credits for its Model S and Roadster, then CARB changed the rules in 2014.

4 credits X 2.25 = 9 credits

Oops, the Roadster received only 5 credits, while the Model S received 7 credits for also having battery swap capability.

Nice and arbitrary. So 7 credits for refueling to 300 miles in 10 minutes.

They could have just as easily made a rule that a vehicle gets more credits for less emissions well-to-wheels using like energy sources per mile. That would have some relevance rather than “fueling time at a pump”

Similar arbitrary rules might decide to give more points for being able to fill up in a parking spot at home or work. Or being able to charge from solar panels on your roof.

It’s clearly designed to favor fuel cell, but the criteria isn’t arbitrary. The thinking is a ZEV needs to match gascar range and refuel time to go beyond niche status (e.g. Tesla, Leaf, Bolt) and get into the mainstream.

Holy Crap! I agree!
I’ve thought for a long time that fuel cells could make sense for heavy industry and long-haul trucks.

For most vehicles though, Battery Electric is the way to go.

Please just give us a pantograph/wire system on major highways! Quiet, clean, electric semi trucks with pantographs would be amazing.

I’d like to think we’re moving forward to 21st century EV tech for our transportation… not backward to 19th century EV tech!

Amen to the pantograph idea. Infinite range for semis. Make it low and mostly enclosed — it would look good and EVs could also use it. A lot of people would be happy with 30 kWh if highways were wired. Pickups and towing also become practical.

It’d probably cost a few months worth of oil imports.

Why, exactly, would fuel cells make sense for trucks or trailers but not for ordinary cars? The root advantage of BEVs is they are efficient. This matters even MORE in the economics of large and heavy vehicles, not less. So if the energy density of batteries are sufficient to make BEVs a good idea anywhere, it is first and foremost in the large and heavy vehicles. I truly don’t understand why this attitude – FCEV may be good if the vehicle is big – is so widespread. But I suspect there is a human-intuition thing going on. We do tend to react without much reflection – so if someone says we spend five billion dollars on costumes for pets on Halloween – or that a trailer would need a 1500 kWh battery pack – we think “wow, that’s a big number” and more or less stop thinking at that point. But in fact, long-haul transportation is ideal for BEV business cases, exactly because the energy cost is a much bigger share of total cost. A big semi uses fuel at a rate that far exceeds the drivers salary, so you don’t need to reduce it very much to pay for… Read more »

Terawatt said:

“…if the energy density of batteries are sufficient to make BEVs a good idea anywhere, it is first and foremost in the large and heavy vehicles.

“I truly don’t understand why this attitude – FCEV may be good if the vehicle is big – is so widespread.”

I don’t understand, either. Long-distance freight trucking is very sensitive to the price of fuel, so the utter impracticality of hydrogen fuel is even worse for big trucks than it is for passenger cars.

I’ve made this same point so many times that I’m tired of repeating it. Clearly this bad meme is going to be very hard to stamp out.

Glad to see you picking up the torch on this issue, Terawatt.

The reason is very simple: the range problem is much bigger in this area and you don’t want to carry around tons of batteries when you could have more payload instead.
When you want to go 500 miles a day you can’t recharge every 100 miles for an hour or so. And believe me: to go 100 miles with a big truck needs a lot of energy!
Battery swaps could help somewhat but that’s something which didn’t work out with passenger cars either. Might be more feasible with trucks but there is no system for that yet, not even in development.
There is a reason why ICE dominated for more than a century. Gas and Diesel have a really high energy density and can be filled in tanks rather fast because they are liquids. This is a combination not that easy to be beat.

for 100 miles around 240 kWh are needed (best case)

Marco said:

“Gas and Diesel have a really high energy density and can be filled in tanks rather fast because they are liquids. This is a combination not that easy to be beat.”

Yes; in fact, your entire post is spot on.

But trying to replace high energy density liquid fuel with a low density pressurized gas is… well, it’s just not going to work. Even if H2 wasn’t much more expensive than diesel, it wouldn’t work.

As you correctly point out, diesel is an ideal fuel (other than the pollution) for long distance trucking. If something is going to compete with diesel, then it needs to be better in some way. CNG and LPG could work, as they are almost as practical as diesel, they are significantly cheaper, and CNG is considerably less polluting.

But the idea that compressed hydrogen gas could ever be competitive as a fuel for long-distance trucking… well, that is laugh-out-loud absurd.

It is often overlooked that HFCVs have a problem with packaging their powertrain compared even to an EV.

Look at a cutaway of a Mirai and there is what used to be a conventional space for an engine stuffed with the fuel cell and all its components.

Then you have a battery under the front seats along with a controller and various other electronics.

Then you have multiple tanks under the back seat and into the trunk space.

All this compared to an EV that has a skateboard battery and then the same compact motors that a HFCV has.

Weight in a HFCV is also often overlooked. The powertrain for a HFCV isn’t quite as heavy as an EV with a similar range but it is quite a bit heavier than a similar gas car. The Mirai is really quite portly for a midsize at over 4,000 lbs.

So really HFCV drivetrains have worse form factor compared to EVs and really don’t have much of a weight advantage to consider them better than EVs for bigger vehicles.

Yep, you’re right about hydrogen being a no-go for long distance trucks, but various liquid options could work with fuel cells while being much more environmentally friendly than petro-diesel.

I.e. Nissan introduced their ethanol fueled Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) plug-in hybrid delivery van. Ethanol from corn is not so green right now, but looking into the misty future I can see some kind of liquid biofuel working well for long haul trucking.

Weird. Guess I can find common ground with Lutz.

So, according to Lutz the math could break down as:

1 – $45,000 fine escape for one hydrogen car, plus 8 ICE car sales for each H2 sale
2 – $45,000 fine escape for 9 BEVs

If margins are much better than 5-6 thousand each on the ICE cars (vs. BEV), you go ICE + the H2.

Right. So now we know why many auto manufacturer’s are pursuing FCV, yet ignoring BEV.

So why is it that CARB decided to generously provide 3-4x the number of credits for FCV over BEV?

I’ve learned (the hard way) to always “follow the money”.

Hmmm…. I wonder…

But the problem with that is that plug-ins are starting to turn into a REAL market.

Between the Model S, the Ford Fusion Energi, the Volt, and few others, plug-ins are starting to get traction. Obviously the biggest traction is at the high end wherein Tesla is drinking the milkshake of Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Porsche, etc.

But the battery prices are coming down. The Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model S can be pure EVs that start moving into the mainstream due to their 200+ mile range, DC-fast-charging, the cheap cost of electricity. And I suspect that the PHEV will become the bigger market once gas prices edge back up and people start making SUV, minivan, large sedan, and other PHEVs.

I think inadvertently Sergio will significantly help promote EVs with the Trojan horse Chrysler Pacific Hybrid, which is actually a PHEV. If priced right, this EV workhorse for middle-class families will win their hearts and minds in favor of the electrification of the auto sector.

Per: “I think inadvertently Sergio will significantly help promote EVs with the Trojan horse Chrysler Pacific Hybrid, which is actually a PHEV.” – Actually -the new Pacifica – is the first correct naming of a Vehicle for the Consumer – in that it Truly is a Hybrid – for the user! My 2004 Prius – was just a Hybrid for Toyota, but – for me – it was just a fuel efficient ICE Vehicle, since – that is the only way I could make it go – was to add more fuel! Since I could not charge it up from outside electricity, the onboard battery was more of a tool just to make it more efficient as an ICE, not to make it a Hybrid, where I could control the driving of it on Electricity! Even the Prius PHV – was largely – just an ICE – since a full throttle press allowed the Gas Engine to run right off, since the BEV portion was too weak to handle anything assertive in driving capacity! PHEV – or – Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles – is largely a Manufacturing Designation – to separate them from the original Hybrids – where they added batteries… Read more »

Imagine Ford sales if they actually updated the Battery!

I hear you. I actually liked driving the FFElectric better than the Leaf. With a 40 kWh pack, the Focus Electric would be a decent city car with around 140 miles of AER.
And if they upgraded the battery on the FFEnergi, you might end up with a PHEV30 or maybe a PHEV35 which would make the Fusion Energi a very nice plug in car.
But all the Ford plug ins have batteries that are just not big enough to make them more than a half as*** attempt to cover themselves.

Even a broken clock is right once in a while.

A broken clock is right once every 12 hours 0s, Twice a day… l o l ….

That’s a stopped clock.

If a clock is broken, the digital display won’t say anything…..


Broken Clocks are usually Right “Twice” daily or Once every 12 Hours, Which ever Comes 1st….

But only if they’re analog clocks. 🙂

“@ $5,000 per”
I think market price for these credits went much much lower these days. Musk was getting ludicrous at CARB for not squeezing credit market and increasing credit price.

And CARB regulations are not just about California for many years. It is about 15 or so states now, so such opinions sounds hopelessly out of date.

Stationary fuel cells that use wastewater to produce energy are ideal to save the earth. The only emission is pure water and they can be used for carbon capture from coal plants to reduce emissions by over 70% and increase energy by 25%. That would save all of the old coal power plants and also it could be used to lessen emissions from natural gas plants.
I think EVs need a better energy system for regenerative energy and storage. The ideal source is supercapacitors made from graphene. This will release energy much faster and is being used in Chinese rail systems and high end automobiles including Lamboghini Aventador,Peugeot and also Bentley.

Stationary fuel cells that use wastewater to produce energy are ideal to save the earth.

Stationary hydrogen generation systems, which include a fuel cells use H2 (made from wastewater) to store energy, not produce it.

The energy must still be produced by some other system. Preferably a clean energy source such as solar, nuclear, or hydro.

No Fuel Cell System is self contained in the Sense that it needs Batteries to take advantage of Regenerative Braking, Sudden Energy needs – like for Acceleration, and the Fuel Cell, and Pumps can’t react in energy demand as fast as Batteries and Electronics.

And while a Fuel Cell System can convert H2 (That is Hydrogen Gas, not – Hydrogen Atoms) into Electricity and Water Vapor, they need a means to get the H2 into the system, under control and at the right pressures, at the right time, which requires extensive control systems – even far more complex than simple Motor Controllers – even those like used in a Tesla – Which can be fit in a Motor Sized Case – as seen in the Skateboard of Any Tesla at a Store!

Man, those fuel cells you describe sound so good that they might solve droughts as well!

first of all, compliance is not a bad thing. without the regulatory compliance pressures, electric vehicles in general would not be where they are today.

the big problem with battery vehicles is the recharge time. people who are driving icev’s are going to compare refill time to recharge time and it is an unattractive comparison. granted, you can recharge at home, but if you intend to use a bev for everyday driving, there are going to be times where you aren’t going to be able to rely on home charging. one strategy for bigger batteries is to reduce the frequency with which you would need to use public charging.

the motive for fuel cell is the promise of a refill time that is comparable to that of an icev. but the reality is that fuel cells are far from being ready for prime time, and at present, they really don’t make sense outside of the laboratory for any reason other than compliance.

Recharge time isn’t the big problem.
Since 95% of BEV recharge 95% of the time at home, it’s not an issue. (Almost all the time)
The real big problem is not understanding the fact.

> the big problem with battery vehicles is the recharge time. people who are driving icev’s are going to compare refill time to recharge time and it is an unattractive comparison. Yes, they will. But also the price tags and the impressions from a test drive. And many will also take some account of running costs. And it’s simply not true that recharge time is a “big problem”. It will take time to get the majority to realize this, but it need not take decades. Even with my 2012 LEAF that’s down to ~84% capacity the charging time is irrelevant most of the time. There are a few times where it’s an inconvenience, but not enough to count for much versus the savings I make. That’s because I live in Norway. But as the EVs are getting cheaper and the range is increasing it will very soon be cheaper for everyone to have a BEV than an ICE, and with faster recharging and more infrequent need to recharge on the go the balance will continue to tip towards BEVs. Already with the Bolt a lot of people won’t need to fast charge on the go more than a couple of… Read more »

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the blogosphere!
Hydrogen is small enough to escape rational thinking!
Hydrogen ZEV credits are directly related to how quickly an empty suit’s pockets can be refilled!
Hydrogen gas is invisible, like the mandate that a third of it be produced using renewable energy!
Hydrogen is far more efficient at siphoning tax dollars than electricity!
Hydrogen is the fuel of the future……

Hydrogen *creates water* and will solve droughts!

Oh no, if Bob Lutz said fuel cells are crap, we should seriously start thinking about FCVs again. 😉

I could see CNG fuel cells for long distance semi-trucks, but that’s about it. Of course we now have companies like Nikola who are developing CNG powered turbines to produce electricity, so maybe we don’t need the fuel cell at all.

You missed an article. The Nikola truck in the US will use fuel cells

Wow, I see that now on their website. When did that happen. That sux, IMO. But they are probably going after more incentives.

Kdawg said:

“But they are probably going after more incentives.”

Perhaps. But it removes even the faintest of hopes that Nikola will actually produce a commercially successful semi tractor. I thought their idea for a CNG powered turbine was at least interesting, altho I didn’t give the company any great chance for success. Many companies have tried to produce turbine-powered cars or trucks; none have been successful outside the racecar field. Still, it’s not impossible.

Powering a semi tractor for long-distance freight hauling, with hydrogen fuel, is… well, not physically impossible, but certainly utterly impractical. Makes about as much sense as trying to use a steam engine to power it.

Their company name is a fitting tribute to the man who pioneered the advancement of hydrogen fuel cells.

I’m glad most of the people here are for this once, not constantly calling him demented and senile…..

Maybe he might be right on other subjects also.

I find him refreshing in that he’s apparently one of the few senior managers who actually knows something.

He micromanaged the design of the GEN 1 voltec products. The only thing people could complain about was the size and price.

His response: “Hey, you are getting an $80,000 car for $45,000. What is wrong with that?”.

I second this.

Fuel Cell technology for cars makes no sense. Especially when battery power is available.

More affordable 300+ mile EVs are just around the corner, which matches the overall range of an ice vehicle, much more energy efficient, at a fraction of the ‘fuel’ cost, many times safer, and the ability to charge at home, at night while you sleep, or quick charge at thousands of locations on the road.

Fuel cell offers the opposite of all of that.

Fuel cells could be excellent for ocean cargo vessels and other heavy transportation / machinery. Agreed, they have no place in personal transportation.

Fuel cells with an onboard reformer, which will extract hydrogen from practical fuels such as diesel and CNG, might be practical for ships and other large vessels.

Compressed hydrogen fuel isn’t practical for anything except the booster stage of large rockets, and it’s never going to be practical. The energy density is too low, which means the required fuel storage space would be much too large for a ship.

Battery tech is improving fairly rapidly, and will continue to get better over the next few decades. But the physical properties of hydrogen gas are fixed by the laws of physics and chemistry, so can never be improved, despite the wishful thinking of “fool cell” fanboys.

Why? I see this sort of claim – hydrogen is good for the big stuff – all over the place, but without any justification.

Jay, you edit the following paragraph to indicate that the sales are not 2 to 16% zero Mission vehicles but 2 to 16% credit!!! Huge difference! That means that if Company T sells 900,000 cars and light duty trucks sold in California (reported to the California Air Resources Board (CARB)), then the current 0.79% credits rule of CARB Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) sales means that 7110 credits must be earned over three model years. Each “100 mile range” (which really means 80 mile range per EPA) EV earns 3 credits each, so 2370 battery electric cars solve that over the three model years. But, Company T need only build and sell only 790 individual sales of hydrogen cars at 9 credits each over three model years TOTAL, or 263 average per each model year during 2015 – 2017 to meet that 0.79% threshold of ZEV credits. By 2025, when the “16% requirement is in force”, if the 9 credits for hydrogen are retained (they are scheduled to disappear in 2018), then Company T would only have to earn 144,000 credits at 9 credits each hydrogen vehicle is just: 5,333 hydrogen cars per year IN CALIFORNIA ONLY (hydrogen is exempt from… Read more »

Bobs is absolutely correct.

Fool Cells are NOT the way to go – unless you wish to waste energy in conversion and want to main the stupidity of transporting fuel when we have solar panels and wires that can do it NOW.

BEV’s are the answer.

Except that wasn’t the point he was making. He is arguing from a business POV and ignores any and all costs that are not part of that account. The total cost is what we as citizens ought to care about – i.e. including all environmental and health impacts. Since FCEVs get more credits than BEVs AND are much less energy-efficient they would look far worse in such a “holistic account”. If we were able to be a bit more rational we would do more to make the cost to the one who makes a choice better reflect the true cost of that choice, regardless of who is “paying” it. A carbon tax is the obvious best solution, but in the absence of a will to raise the cost of fuel by taxing it appropriately we are left with the imperfect solution of ZEV credits and tax rebates. The FCEV scam is a great illustration of how imperfect this is. Consider the incentives a carbon tax would create! Immediately everyone would have a bit more reason to use public transport or their bike when feasible. They’d have more reason to choose a 40 MPG car over a 33 MPG alternative. To… Read more »

Nice post.

From the Ward’s article, it would be nice if people who have nothing better to do than pick on Mr. Lutz, would remember that in 2010-2011 he was constantly trying to take development monies away from Fuel Cell research, and direct it toward Lithium powered vehicles, since, as he rightly states, battery powered vehicles can be plugged in almost anywhere.

Bob Lutz deserves an enormous amount of credit, and thanks, for getting the Volt into production. We should never forget that.

But that doesn’t mean we should give Bob a pass on all the dumb things he’s said about the EV revolution more recently, nor forget about those. The reason why there are so many “Gee, I can’t believe I agree with Bob” comments here is because of his more recent dumb statements.

See, for example:

“Former GM Chairman Bob Lutz is spreading false and misleading information about Tesla”

‘False and Misleading information’.

Sorry, the false information is merely what is not in vogue currently, and its been rehashed here plenty of times how, if you have an unending ability to just float more bonds because wall street loves you, that Tesla’s current business model is just fine.

Musk’s current concern about showing a profit for the quarter is therefore more than a bit curious. But I’d defer to others who look better wearing green eye shades than I do to hazard a guess as to any particular current concern there.

Lutz considered the business case for BEVs to be stronger than that of FCEVs, and rightly so. This makes him a good businessman, but it makes him no more or less moral than those who consider ICE to be the best business case (Lutz among them btw). The point ought to be made that what is a good business case is really only interesting to the industry. For everyone else, what matters is what solution has the lowest total cost. And the cost of fossil fuels is very high. Calculating it is incredibly complex, but it is undeniable that there are huge costs of using them that have nothing to do with the cost of providing them. The credits are better than nothing, but it really is a bad solution compared to a carbon tax. Such a tax would be fair, because it would reward ANY decrease in fossil fuel use with a reduction in tax paid – regardless of how it is achieved. Whether you take the bus, bike more, carpool, drive more carefully, choose a PHEV and always plug it in, drive a BEV, choose renewable electricity over fossil-fuel derived electricity, choose a more fuel-efficient car or do… Read more »

Hare brained schemes can easily make many other groups of people unpopular with me personally, especially those coming up with a great plan to steal more of my money. I’m not sure many typical guys like it more than I do.

But then, too many people here simply assume they know more than the rest of us, and we should be slaves to them because they said so.

It will be interesting to see how many you get to go on your bandwagon.

Right now, it doesn’t look that promising.

COAL is the fastest growing fuel in the world, currently.

Nuclear Plants (other than China and India), are being decommissioned at least twice the rate they are being replaced.

So everyone who has listened to formerly semi-legitimate experts like James Dines and invested in Uranium mining have pretty much lost their shirts. He’s not being invited onto investment shows with anywhere near the frequency he used to be. People in general must not like losing money.

Not sure why you went off on a tangent about nuclear power, which wasn’t mentioned or hinted at anywhere in Terawatt’s post.

But the abandonment of nuclear power plants in favor of burning more coal is one of the biggest signs showing that humans are not rational animals. Public health and the environment would be much better served if we were to build a nuclear power plant to replace every single coal-fired power plant on the planet (altho not necessarily in the same places).

Legally, I am not a rational animal. I used to think I was until about the age of 18. To say otherwise is religious discrimination.

When I was a kid I just accepted what was told in 10th grade biology class, but then I started thinking more for myself on the subject. I had the choice to be either intelligent or intellectually lazy, and I chose the former.

You must have problems with comprehension, Pushi. I briefly mentioned Nuclear, as it is always mentioned during discussions of “Fossil-Fuel Reduction”, which was his point.

Please move within 2 miles of a Nuclear Plant if you think it is clean. Although residents of Buchannan, NY might beg to differ.

I thought my now demolished Coal Plant was clean, as I lived within 2 miles of it.

“COAL is the fastest growing fuel in the world, currently.”

BP’s Annual Statistical Review says coal usage dropped a couple percent in 2015. It’s way down in the US, up some in India. China is officially down, but the data out of there is sketchy.

Its on the way up percentage wise. The worldwide economic slowdown may have throttled the absolute numbers.

AS countries move away from Nuclear, Germany in particular, is increasing its coal usage, as well as renewables.

But then why is that?
Coal is going to die sooner or later, hydrogen will never grow and nuclear is all around us when the sun is shinning.

Still out of topic but for your info:
It seems coal consumption is a least idling or slightly decreasing.

BP shows coal declining on both percentage and absolute basis. Natural gas was up. Oil was also up, as were renewables. Even hydro and nuclear were up a little.

You can download PDFs and XLS here:

Re: Coal, the graphs Djoni provided provide the long-term substantiation. Of course, everyone will cry, and jump up and down at the blip at the end.

Re: Hydrogen, since tax credits merely reduce legalized theft, I have no problem with them if fairly applied, just as I have no problem with tax credits for evs and solar I have used since its not really any cash given me, it is simply less stolen, as I’ve mentioned several times

On that note, I’ve received basically no gov’t largess, since $110K plus tax and delivery is plenty to throw some electric parts into an in production Lotus Elise.