Bob Lutz on the VL Destino

Bob Lutz isn’t necessarily a fan of electric vehicles. Though the former GM product czar does see value in the electric car, he still believes there are far too many issues to make them presently viable.

According to Lutz, many people have expressed interest in a Fisker Karma with a conventional drivetrain. To cater to these buyers, he has co-founded a new company, VL Automotive, and created the Destino, a vehicle that swaps all of the electric powertrain addenda from Fisker’s Karma in favor of the LS9 drivetrain found in the Corvette ZR1.

The V8 engine is good for 638hp and removing all of the electric components makes the car considerably lighter than the donor vehicle — shaving approximately 1400-pounds off the weight of the Karma.

“We’re taking this wonderful car and making it accessible to a broader market,” he says.

The powertrain transplant essentially transformed the Karma from being “an extended-range electric vehicle of modest performance back to a conventional car with a very modern, American, high-performance and ultra-reliable drivetrain,” says Lutz.

Of course, certain modifications were required to the battery tunnel and rear firewall to create the “four-door four-passenger Corvette ZR1″, such as the addition of an aluminum “doghouse” for the transaxle, and the inclusion of new engine and transmission mounts.

The biggest visual change — besides the addition of rear exhaust outlets to the lower rear bumper fascia — is to the car’s front fascia and hood, which Lutz believes has vastly improved the aesthetics of the car. We can’t say we agree.

So how many units does VL Automotive plan to sell? “We don’t have dreams of grandeur,” says Lutz. “If we do 100-200 cars a year that would be wonderful.”

Order books are currently open.


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