Tech Who Will Kill This Electric Car?
posted by July 28 at 12:57 PMon
Andrew Farah, who worked on the GM EV1 electric car—which GM mysteriously smashed to smithereens, inspiring this conspiracy-theorizing documentary—is now chief engineer for the Chevrolet Volt.
There’s a good, long article about him and the project over on the Atlantic Monthly:
Farah had been fiercely committed to the EV1, and he was not about to relive the disappointment.
“Hell, no,” he said. “I’ve been on programs like this before. They’re not real.”
“No,” came the reply. “This one is real.” Farah asked to talk to other senior executives, and they concurred. So, in the spring of last year, he took one of the hardest jobs at GM, and became the Volt’s chief engineer.
And how, I ask over coffee early one February morning in Detroit, is it going? It is 6 a.m., and Farah, who is 47 and has angular features and prominent black glasses, is rushing to make a 7 a.m. meeting. The car, he says, is 10 weeks behind the original schedule. Any more slippage, and the 2010 deadline will be history. Even if no more time is lost, he will have only eight weeks to test the underbody, the car’s structural base.
Is that enough time? He answers indirectly. In some cars, he says, testing the underbody can take a year.
GM, he tells me, is taking an industrial organization designed to grind out incremental improvements and repurposing it for a technological leap. “I spend 20 percent of my time being a psychologist and counselor,” he says. “I tell people, ‘Yes, there’s a lot of risk. And, yes, that’s OK.’
“It’s not a program for the faint of heart.”