Co-founder/chief technical officer, Efficient Drivetrains Inc., Professor, University of California, Davis, Institute of Transportation Studies
Chosen because: Frank, 77, is credited with inventing the modern plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. As a professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1972, Frank and his students built the first plug-in hybrid for a U.S. Department of Transportation contest. Since then he has won more than 30 patents for plug-in hybrid technology spanning nine generations of development. In 2006 he co-founded Efficient Drivetrains Inc., a Silicon Valley company that develops advanced transmissions, controls and other plug-in hybrid systems.
Quote: "I believe I'm very close to the 100-miles-to-the-gallon goal," Frank told the Sacramento Business Journal in March. "The students and I have built a car here at Davis, a hybrid-electric car, that gets 72 miles to the gallon."