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Lutz is the car guy’s car guy, having been an insider since his first General Motors job in 1962. He’s consistently campaigned for more exciting, performance-oriented cars that are also—a consistent problem for the Big Three—well built. At BMW in the early 70s, he says he helped develop the first 3- and 6-Series cars. At Ford in the 1980s, the Swiss-born, multilingual Lutz shepherded the Ford Explorer to a major hit, but also championed the miserable flop that was the Euro-sourced Merkur division.
After a stint at battery maker Exide, Lutz was recruited to join GM, where—despite famously saying that global warming is “a crock of *&$%#@”—he became the champion and main cheerleader for the Chevrolet Volt.
I don’t pursue the electrification of the automobile out of any fear I might have of planetary meltdown. First of all, you have to realize that carbon dioxide is a trace gas, one of most minimal gases in atmosphere. If you believe in the greenhouse effect, you should realize that methane, also known as bovine flatulence, has more than 20 times the power of CO2, and yet nobody talks about it. More than 98 percent of CO2 is from natural causes—just two percent is from humans, and mostly from stationary sources. And just a fifth of the human-caused emissions are from the global automotive sector. You could plug up the spark plug holes of every car and truck on the planet with cement and it would be a rounding error as far as CO2 production is concerned.
The whole thing [blaming cars for global warming] is outrageous, and the purpose is to create an artificial scarcity of fossil fuel to raise prices and get alternative fuels, which cost way more, to start paying off.
So what’s my motivation for the electrification of the automobile? Well, as a businessman I recognize the environment we’re operating in. So if you don’t agree with the goals and the philosophy, hey, it doesn’t matter. I can’t change it because I’m not the emperor of the universe. The second thing is I don’t like the U.S.’s strategic dependence on foreign oil, much of it from sources hostile to us. It’s a huge drain on our balance of payments. And, frankly, we may be heading into a naval conflict in the Straits of Hormuz. Well, if we didn’t need Iranian oil that whole point would be moot. I’d like to see the U.S. be energy independent with natural gas for the stationary sources, because we have unbelievable quantities of domestic natural gas. And for the mobile sector, I’d like to see a gradual transition to electrification. When we get to the point where we actually reduce our oil consumption, we can tell the hostile nations, “You guys can do what you want, because we don’t need you.”
This acidity results from the oceans taking up the CO2.