This year's Electrifying 100 honorees are the first -- and had to be

DETROIT -- Last night, Automotive News saluted the Electrifying 100. At a reception at the Henry Ford museum, 47 of the award winners were feted.

Watching that diverse group on stage, I was reminded of another Automotive News salute to 100 leaders: our list of 100 Leading Women in the auto industry.

We publish that list every five years. The first one came out in 2000.

We could probably have put together that list five or 10 years before that. But at some point in the past -- 1980? 1970? -- it would have been impossible to put together a list of 100 leading women in the auto industry. There just weren't enough women in major roles.

Could we have put together a list of 100 leaders in electrifying vehicles five years ago? Maybe, but I doubt it. Back then, many of the nominees would have been nonmainstream folks, people working on the margins of the mass market or automotive folks who spent a quarter of their time on electrification and the rest of their time on something else.

The people honored last night were not all mainstream auto company people. There were startups. There were suppliers. There were utility executives. There were engineers. There were advocates. But all of them are working in positions where they are genuinely affecting what vehicles you or I and our children may drive 10 or 20 years from now. They're making a difference.

They're an impressive bunch. And they're on the cutting edge of a long-established industry. I salute them.

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