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Father of EV1 Says Electric Car Breakthrough Is Close – Energy TribuneEnergy Tribune

Bob Purcell, known in the automotive industry as the father ofGeneral Motors GM -1.56%‘ EV1 plug-in car, has been in the automotive business for 45 years, the last 20 of which have been dedicated to electric vehicle development. And even though he’s 60 years old and should be starting to think about retirement, he’s not about to quit now — not when the industry seems so close to a breakthrough.

“I’m not going to retire until I get one to high volume for real,” said Purcell. “I’ll be honest. I think we’re there.”

Purcell, the former head of GM’s advanced vehicle technology group, is now chief executive of aMichigan-based technology startup he founded called Protean Electric, which has developed an innovative wheel hub motor that could finally make electric vehicles practical for the mass market.

“We’re at a critical juncture in the world auto industry,” said Purcell. There are one billion vehicles in operation on the planet today — a milestone that took well over a century to achieve, he said. But under current projections, the next billion vehicles will be on the road within just 15 to 20 years. “We’re going to double the car parc in the next two decades,” he said. It’s impossible for all of those vehicles to be conventionally powered by gasoline. There’s not enough fossil fuel available; nor can the environment handle it, he said.



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