Bob Lutz may be the ultimate car guy – he sat at the top table at all of the Big Three automakers, and he was the driving force behind the Chevy Volt. Lutz was a GM exec in 2008 when he heard about the Tesla Roadster, and reasoned that "if some Silicon Valley startup can solve this equation, no one is going to tell me anymore that [an electric car] is unfeasible."
Lutz famously said that "the electrification of the automobile is a foregone conclusion," and that he would always owe Tesla a debt of gratitude for having "broken the ice." In recent years, however, he has become a harsh critic of Tesla.
When Lutz speaks, the auto industry listens, and when he spoke at SAE International's recent annual meeting (WCX) in Detroit, he had unwelcome news to deliver: people who like to drive, and car companies that rely on branding, have another 25 years at the most. After that, "it's all over." Humans will travel in standardized automated vehicles with little differentiation and no soul.