The GM Volt is cool, but what before then?

Last week, my favorite technology writer, David Pogue, ran his interview with GM's Bob Lutz about GM's cool Volt concept. For those of you that don't know, as envisioned, the Volt would be an electric drive vehicle with a small engine that would be used just to charge the batteries. Now, as I've written about before (here), I like the Volt idea, and plug-in electric hybrids have a critical role to play in reducing the global warming pollution from the transportation sector (see this post for more on this). But my colleague Roland Hwang recently put his finger on the problem with GM's approach here:

Even if you take Lutz and GM at face value that they believe in this thing [the Volt], the problem I have is that it continues their “swing for the fences strategy” when they (and the climate) need to be working on some solid singles and doubles to have a hope to keep in the game.

What really gets me is in the interview with Pogue when Lutz says:

You know, the media likes to say, “The Detroit Big Three are fighting the fuel economic proposals.” No, no, no–the whole automotive industry is fighting! Why? Because they’re impossible.

You just go to love that American can-do spirit. Leave your lawyers at home, GM. Unleash your engineers.

Lutz' point about the whole industry fighting is also a sad one. What the heck are Toyota and Honda doing? Check out this exchange:

[David Pogue]: But you understand why people are skeptical. I mean, you’re still lobbying to keep the Federal mileage requirements from going up, and so on.

[Bob Lutz]: Well, we and Toyota! And Honda. And everybody.

Shame on Toyota and Honda for giving GM cover!

(Update 9/25/07: Turns out my colleague Deron Lovaas has covered Pogue's interview here and Toyota's shameful behavior here. As he pointed out to me when we discussed the Lutz interview, Honda's position is a little grayer. Turns out while they have historically supported an increase in fuel economy standards, they have opposed on their own the 4% increase in the bill the Senate passed in June. So 2 wags of the finger for Toyota and 1, maybe 1.5 for Honda.)