Meet the Media: Hannah Lutz, Reporter at Automotive News

I am a reporter at Automotive News, covering electric vehicle trends, charging infrastructure and battery development. I started the beat in January, but I have been with AN for nine years, covering various automaker and dealer beats.

Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?

I have been closely following the build out of reliable EV charging infrastructure. The rollout of public chargers is not same as the build out of gas stations because many EV owners will have chargers at home. Still, a reliable public charging network is critical for those without access to home chargers and for everyone traveling long distances. I’ll continue to cover this area and charger uptime—a sore point for the industry. (Stay tuned for AN’s project on charging infrastructure—out on April 24!)

On the battery side, I’ll be watching emerging chemistries that stretch range and reduce costs. I’m also interested in battery recycling and the sourcing of materials for batteries, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

General Motors’ mayfly mayhem. I never thought I’d write about mayflies or interview an entomologist (an insect scientist) as an auto reporter! GM believed the insects were responsible for a black residue that marked up more than 2,600 Chevrolet Tahoes and GMC Yukons waiting to be shipped to dealerships. The mayfly mess delayed shipments to dealerships that were already coping with inventory shortages. Some dealers spent hours removing the residue without stripping the vehicles’ paint.

What story or stories are you most proud of?

I enjoy long-form stories and projects that I can spend lots of time on.

Some examples:

Elements of Electrification, which looked at battery development in the EV era and the sourcing and availability of raw materials.

I came up with the idea for Elements of Electrification after GM, my beat at the time, made several battery announcements over a few months. I strung the announcements together and watched coverage by my colleagues, and we decided this was a trend we should spotlight.

EV1: A Legacy in a New Light.

This project told the story of the GM’s EV1, the first mainstream EV that had a very short life span for numerous reasons. Twenty-five years after the first EV1s rolled off the line, GM vowed to launch an EV lineup by 2035. My colleague, Pete Bigelow, and I interviewed about three dozen people who were involved with the EV1 and told the story in their words.

What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?

Every good story must have tension, conflict or some sort of ‘a-ha’ factor. My editor often reminds me to ask myself when sorting through so many pitches: what problem does this solve?

How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?

I began my journalism career in 2014 as an intern at Automotive News. AN hired me as the finance and insurance reporter in 2015, and I’ve been moving around the newsroom ever since. I covered and edited our finance and insurance stories, and I was a member of our retail team, covering dealer trends and some of the largest dealership groups, AutoNation, Group 1 Automotive and Asbury Automotive Group. After that, I got to cover General Motors and sales and manufacturing trends for three years. I started my EV role this January.

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …

Trying a new restaurant! I love the Detroit dining scene, and Ferndale, where I live, has some of the best spots.

What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?

Look up our coverage before you pitch to ensure Automotive News is a good fit and personalize the pitches. I don’t want the same story as everyone else.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

My recent pet peeve: when PR people don’t keep their clients on track. Some are camera-off on a Zoom call while their clients ramble. Media training with clients – or even a simple interruption to bring them back to focus—would be so helpful.

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, some fact about you that few people know, etc.)

I had a baby in August and love every second I get with him! He is the most cheerful boy and makes every day fun. My husband and I joined Freedom Boat Club last summer. I’m looking forward to lots of boat rides with them this year!

You can follow Hannah on LinkedIn here.

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