Chief engineer, 2010 (third-generation) Prius, Toyota Motor Corp.
Chosen because: By the time Otsuka, now 48, was given responsibility for developing the third-generation Toyota Prius, the hybrid had moved from a novelty to a high-volume mainstream model. That didn't make his task any easier. Otsuka had to reduce the production cost, boost mileage and add features. He missed the internal target of a 50 percent cost reduction but did shave off 35 percent. The Prius is a hot seller. And more hybrid models will follow. Ultimately, much of the weight of reaching Toyota's goal of selling one million hybrids annually within the next few years rests on Otsuka's shoulders.
Quote: "I don't think EVs can replace hybrids in the near future," Otsuka told BusinessWeek in May 2009. "We have to think about the balance between the EV driving range, the size and the cost."