Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

Now he tells us. Bob Lutz, who helped spearhead the development of the Chevrolet Volt at General Motors, told UK's Autocar that the Volt's extended-range plug-in powertrain would've been better developed for full-size SUV than a smaller-sized car because of the greater opportunity to cut fuel use compared to gas-guzzling models like the Cadillac Escalade.

Lutz figures prospective customers would be more wiling to pay the plug-in premium if the model in question was an SUV rather than a small-to-mid-sized car because of the greater potential for savings. Despite the actions that he took in the development of the Volt, he now says that he would've first designed an extended-range powertrain for a model like the Escalade before making the powertrain available in smaller vehicles.

Lutz is currently drumming up support for automotive startup Via Motors. This week, Lutz and Via presented three converted GM models at the Detroit Auto Show, including a pickup truck, a SUV and a van. Via, which is expected to price the models at between $70,000 and $80,000, estimates that it will produce 2,700 units in 2013 and about 20,000 in 2014.