With the advent of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show and today at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, chief engineer Pam Fletcher has grown from a kid helping Dad in the garage to becoming executive chief engineer for all things electric at General Motors.
As profiled in Automotive News, Fletcher was chief engineer for the first Volt, but now she’s in charge of so much more, from managing the team that has developed 2016 Chevrolet Volt, to battery electrics (Chevrolet Spark EV) and the eAssist mild hybrid system.
“This is probably about the most customer-inspired car you’re going to see launched in recent history,” Fletcher said about the first Volt, which was pushed to production as GM’s innovative vision after the 2009 bankruptcy. While the Volt continues to be a political punching bag for some, overall it has been a boon to GM with a loyal customer base who have actively praised the Volt both online and elsewhere.
Growing up in Ohio, Fletcher got into engineering thanks to her father, who recruited her to lend some help in the garage − “everything from welding body panels to overhauling transmissions.” This exposure also took her to the racetrack: “There’s all that noise and excitement at the track. There’s winners and losers. I was drawn to that adrenaline.”
After earning a degree in engineering, Fletcher started working for a Detroit-based engine builder, which eventually led to a job at Ford. Around 15 years ago, she left Detroit for a Charlotte, North Carolina startup to develop new engine technology for Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s NASCAR efforts. By 2005, she was back in Detroit and soon joined the team working on the Volt.
“All of those experiences were great and fun,” she says. “But I can’t imagine having missed out on the development of the Volt.”