In Forcing Change, We See Unintended Consequences

Hummer EV's Ultium Battery Pack designed by General Motors and LG Chem
Image Via GMC.

It should be pretty clear by now that the automotive industry is trying to rebound from a recent mistake made with electrification. The push towards it was extreme, done with the hopes that American consumers would be willing and able to dive into the change in powertrains almost as quickly as vehicles were made available. That was partly due to federal regulations and other government entities pushing automakers to make the change with new laws and mandates. 

Bob Lutz: Electrification A “Colossal Mistake”

Bob Lutz recently spoke with Fox News about the “colossal mistake” that was the push toward electrification. If you didn’t know, Lutz was the top leader of all United States Big Three automobile manufacturers. Lutz stated that pushing towards electrification as a gradual change is undoubtedly a viable option for the automotive industry. Technology will continuously improve over time, resulting in “ever longer battery range, ever quicker recharge time,” meaning that in the next couple of decades, EVs could “take a bigger and bigger slice of the pie,” said Lutz. However, that’s different from what’s currently happening. By trying to force progression to occur quickly, things are clearly not working out, which is why many manufacturers are altering their plans as quickly as they started them. See the latest from Stellantis, GM, and Ford as examples.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Lutz pointed out that the internal combustion engine has had “125 years to perfect” the design and reliability; meanwhile, “we’ve had roughly 15 years” to create modern electric vehicles. Sure, an EV has fewer moving parts, more durable braking systems, and significantly more technology, but all of that results in a higher price tag, which consumers can’t afford with the current state of the economy. Not to mention how unreliable the charging infrastructure is, with stations either not providing enough charge to be efficient and quick or not working. Meanwhile, there’s a gas station every couple of miles, and while prices are rising again, having the sense of security that you can refuel makes all the difference. 

Lutz advised current and future executives and CEOs to use their resources to look ahead three to four years at consumer demand. The market and what consumers want are constantly changing, and it’s essential to be adaptable so that companies can swing as the marketplace shifts. If EV adoption is to happen, it will need to be a gradual shift, not one that takes place overnight. As electric vehicles’ technology and reliability improve, so will consumer interests. That said, we still won’t be opposed to seeing hydrogen-powered cars on the road. However, that also has a significant refueling infrastructure problem that works against its viability over petrol-powered vehicles. 

Dodge Charger Daytona EV
Image via Dodge

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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