I saw an interesting documentary on Independent Lens earlier this week. It was essentially the story of 3 businessmen and their adventures with electric cars. One was an entrepreneur that puts batteries and electric motors in place of ICEs in existing vehicles. He had a number of travails, but was still at it. After a fire destroyed his plant, he bought a closed factory. After he moved in, he found that between the mold and peeling lead paint, the air was too toxic to work in. He had big losses form that ill advised purchase. The second was Bob Lutz, who told the story of the EV1 and Volt from his perspective. He claimed to love the EV1, but it was a big money loser for GM, and that’s why it was cancelled. He was also skeptical of the Volt’s chances for success. He claimed it was baggage from the EV1 losses that led to his skepticism. The third was Elon Musk. His was the story of getting Tesla to make money. And Musk has been particularly bad at making money with Tesla. Lutz was amazed that Musk thought that he could get into the auto business for the small amount of capital he had invested. A sure failure he said, and he was right. Musk couldn’t make money on the roadster. and had to bring out another product - the S sedan, to start making a profit. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any more money to throw at it. His only hope was a $465 million US Government loan. He eventually got it.
So, who’s the smart guy and who’s the dope? They all made some colossal mistakes. I think that they are all pretty bright. They did the best they could and didn’t let failures get in the way of their desire to get it right - eventually. Only Bob Lutz was forced to retire. BTW, he hates retirement.
Did anyone else see this documentary? What do you think?