Lutz: Green takes greenbacks

GENEVA — Automakers clearly are focused on two things these days: the environment and fuel economy. During a media roundtable at the Geneva auto show, Bob Lutz, General Motors vice chairman of global product development, weighed various "green" solutions.

Lutz said he expects to see "great advances" in battery technology now that many automakers are focusing on lithium ion batteries as a propulsion device.

He also said GM knows it can deliver a 300-mile range using fuel cells. The problem with this and many other solutions, even diesels, he said, is cost.

"We're nowhere near where we need to be on the cost curve," Lutz said. "We'd incur a big loss."

He added that carmakers' costs to develop technologies to meet the federal corporate average fuel economy mandate of 35 mpg by 2020 could run $7,000 to $8,000 a vehicle.

"I just don't know what's going to happen when we start passing along all this cost to American consumers," Lutz said. "It's hard to swallow."

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