CEO, Fisker Automotive Inc.
Chosen because: Fisker, 47, might seem an unlikely guy to be pitching vehicle electrification. He was once chief designer for Aston Martin. But his design background likely helped land funding for Fisker Automotive, one of the best-financed electric car companies around. Ray Lane, Fisker's chairman and a managing partner with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, wasn't impressed with electric vehicle companies until he saw a Fisker Karma, which was as beautiful and comfortable as comparably priced gasoline-powered luxury cars, Lane says. Fisker also landed a $529 million Department of Energy loan and bought an old General Motors plant for the bargain basement price of $20 million. The $95,900 Karma is actually a plug-in hybrid electric, albeit with a 400-hp engine. It is the first in a planned five-car plug-in hybrid electric lineup. Fisker Automotive began production of the Karma in March, and is aiming to have several thousand units on the road in the United States by late this year. The next model will be a moderately priced sedan, due in 2012.
Quote: "We always assume that people who want an environmentally friendly car, an electric car or a plug-in hybrid, also want it to look cheap and small, and I'm not necessarily sure that's true."