Bob Lutz is a man on a mission. A mission to publicly trash Tesla Motors and the electric vehicle market every chance he gets, that is.
His newest rant, unsurprisingly, takes aim at the Tesla Model X SUV that’s now in the process of being rolled out to early reservation holders. We’ve covered the Model X quite a lot already, so it doesn’t seem necessary here to talk too much about the electric SUV — except perhaps to point those interested in learning more to this and this.
So, what exactly did the former GM executive and auto industry legend say in his recent interview with CNBC? Quite a lot. Here are some excerpts via our sister site Gas 2:
“The Model X appears to be unbuildable with those automatic gull-wing doors, which everyone in the industry always said were not going to work,” Lutz offered. Lutz was also highly critical of Tesla’s business model in general. “Tesla’s business model is upside down…their costs have always been higher than their revenue,” said Lutz. “They always have to get more capital, then they burn through it.”
If Lutz was down on Tesla, he was doubly down on the business case for electric cars in general. “The business has always been lousy. Now, it’s super lousy because the generic demand for electric vehicles is down. And here’s why this is going to kill Tesla: whether there’s consumer demand for electric vehicles out there or not, the major OEMs like Ford, GM, Toyota, Volkswagen, they have to build electric cars — a certain number — in order to satisfy the requirements in about half of the states. Those have to be jammed into the marketplace, otherwise they can no longer sell SUVs and full-size pickups and the stuff they really make money on. That is going to generically depress the prices of electric vehicles,” he said.
Lutz went on to say, “Look at the new GM Chevy Bolt, which after federal incentives costs roughly $30,000. GM is not going to make money on that. But the majors are going to accept the losses on the electric vehicles as a necessary cost of doing business in order to sell the big gasoline stuff.”
It should be stated right up front here that GM reps have made it clear that they expect the Chevy Bolt to be profitable — in direct contradiction to what Lutz said. Which makes you wonder whether he is simply a liar, or just out of touch?