Tony Posawatz, the public face of the Chevy Volt, retires from GM
Tony Posawatz said he’d like to work “in the area of automotive innovation and very likely in electrification,” but will take some time off first.
DETROIT -- Tony Posawatz, the public face of the Chevrolet Volt since before the plug-in hybrid made its debut as a concept car, has retired from General Motors.
Posawatz, 52, who had been the Volt’s vehicle line director since 2006, told Automotive News today that he “decided to take some time to pause and assess the situation and see what opportunities exist” beyond GM, where he recently completed his 30th year in various vehicle-development and other roles.
Green Car Reports previously reported Posawatz’s retirement.
Posawatz was tapped in March 2006 to lead development of the Volt, which was introduced as a concept at the Detroit auto show in January 2007 and launched in December 2010. Since the car’s debut, Posawatz has played a central role in explaining the Volt’s extended-range technology to the public and has been a fixture speaker in green-car circles.
Posawatz said the car’s groundbreaking technology required him to assume roles that a vehicle line director normally doesn’t worry about, such as working with utilities on the build-out of charging stations. He had been leading a team focused on reducing costs for the next-generation Volt and transferring the car’s technology to other GM vehicles.
The Volt is designed to operate primarily on battery power. When battery power has been reduced by about 65 percent, a gasoline generator kicks in to provide electricity to the motors. It has an electric-only range of 25 to 50 miles. When the gasoline engine is required, the range can be extended by hundreds of additional miles.
Before his work on the Volt, Posawatz was a planning director for GM’s full-sized trucks and led the development of the Chevrolet Avalanche, which debuted for the 2002 model year. He got his engineering degree from Wayne State University in Detroit on a GM scholarship and later earned his MBA from Dartmouth College with the help of a GM fellowship.
GM soon will appoint a replacement to lead the Volt team, a company spokesman said.
Posawatz, who lives in the Detroit area with his family, said he’d like to work “in the area of automotive innovation and very likely in electrification” but will take some time off first.
“This was really a heroic team effort,” Posawatz said of bringing the Volt to market. “As much as perhaps people had even higher expectations, it’s seeing tremendous year-over-year sales numbers compared to what plug-in cars had done historically.”
He said: “I think people will look back and say ‘Wow, that was the product that ignited the movement.’”
You can reach Mike Colias at email@example.com.