AutoTech Daily reported Friday that Denise Gray will give up her position as General Motors Co.’s global director of rechargeable energy storage systems to join an unnamed California start-up company involved in emerging battery technology.
The 46-year-old Gray has been a key leader in the development of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid vehicle, which will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and electric motor aided by a combustion engine generator.
Ronn Jamieson, director of global battery systems engineering, will temporarily oversee Gray’s staff. Bill Wallace, manager of the Volt Battery System Engineering Group, will take on technical and program management responsibilities until a full-time replacement is found.
Gray directed a variety of engine, transmission and software testing programs during a 25-year career at GM that included a stint as a high school co-op student. She has electrical engineering degrees from Kettering Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Gray worked with suppliers in the development, testing and manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries for the Volt. South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. will supply the battery cells, which GM will assemble into packs at a new plant in Michigan.
Gray is the third top executive to leave the Volt team in the last six months. Bob Kruse, executive director of vehicle engineering for hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries, quit last September to start a consulting firm. Program leader Frank Weber moved to Germany late last year to head global product planning for GM’s Adam Opel GmbH unit.
Last month GM began assembling the first lithium-ion battery pack for the Volt at GM’s new Brownstown Township plant. Gray says the battery now is in the final testing and fine-tuning stage in preparation for mass production. GM plans to launch the Volt late this year, producing as many as 10,000 of the vehicles next year. The company aims for annual sales of 50,000 to 60,000 units.
Source: WWJ Newsradio 950