Bob Lutz Says Electrified Vehicles Will Be 15 Percent of Global Sales in 10 Years

By · September 21, 2012

Chevy Volt

Bob Lutz signs the hood of the Chevy Volt.

"You can't get there from here with a conventional drivetrain," former vice-chairman of General Motors Bob Lutz stated at the Autobeat Insider Conference in Dearborn, Michigan on Thursday.

The oft-outspoken Lutz was referring to the inability of automakers to meet upcoming US fuel economy standard and European carbon dioxide emission guidelines with conventional gasoline engines.

Instead, said Lutz, automakers will be forced to turn to electrified vehicles to meet stringent guidelines. Lutz believes automakers must focus on plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and turn to lightweight materials in the manufacturing of future vehicles. All this must be done without significantly increasing costs for consumers.

Volt signature

The writing is on the wall or, in this case, it's on the hood of the Chevy Volt concept. In 2008, when Lutz signed the hood of a Volt, mass-market electric vehicles were still just a future proposition. Even today, Lutz says that technology for electrified vehicles is still "in its infancy," but that "at some point, that's going to change."

As Lutz predicts, the electrified vehicle segment will account for up to 15 percent of global automotive sales in ten year's time. Though his prediction might be optimistic—depending on how you define "electrified" to include no-plug hybrids or not—Lutz speaks with the authority of a long career in the auto industry (even if he often shoots from the lip). Pike Research pegs worldwide sales of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles at 1.7 million units annually in 2020.

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