Recently, Chevrolet visited West Philadelphia High School's Academy of Automotive & Mechanical Engineering to show students their new electronic vehicle, the Chevy Volt. We were able to catch up with Mel Fox, an Engineer for General Motors and Carolyn Markey from GM Communications to hear about the visit and Chevy's cleaner auto-alternatives (for those of us who HAVE to drive). Enjoy!
Green Philly Blog: How did you get involved with this project? (I see you're a fellow Penn State Grad - any inspiration or experienced gained from our alma mater?)
Mel Fox, Engineer for General Motors: I was a part of Penn State’s “ChallengeX” team in grad school. ChallengeX was a hybrid vehicle 4-year competition funded by General Motors & the US DOE. I was recruited to work on the Volt when I was at the GM Proving Grounds During the Year 3 competition in June 2007.
I obviously gained a ton of experience while on the ChallengeX team, not to mention that it was invaluable and much more “real world” than I could have comprehended. Half of my graduate research focused on alternative fuel combustion in spark-ignited engines, so that certainly helped me to learn about the fuel/engine/emissions side of the world. Now that I am working on diesel combustion development at GM, I am learning how to apply my fundamental research-type knowledge here to future products. I have a Penn State flag in my cube, proudly displayed for all to see! (Julie/Editors note: Me too!) As it turns out, several of the combustion gurus here at GM are also from Penn State.
GPB: Would the Volt be more ideal for city-dwellers or suburbanites?