Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Pam Fletcher's title when she worked on the first Chevrolet Volt.
DETROIT -- For a mechanical engineer who once worked on 1,000-hp race boats and Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s roaring NASCAR engines, Pam Fletcher is pretty stoked about a car that starts with barely a whisper.
Fletcher, General Motors' executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles, oversees the team that will deliver the next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, which gets unwrapped today, Jan. 12, at the auto show here.
The Volt has occupied much of Fletcher's life over the past decade -- she was propulsion system chief engineer on the first one, which has won a slew of awards. But she's now in charge of all things electric in GM's portfolio, from the Volt to battery electrics such as the Chevy Spark EV, to GM's eAssist mild hybrid system.
That makes Fletcher the point person for GM's ambition to stake out a leadership position in electrified vehicles. GM is pursuing a different path from Toyota, the dominant player in conventional hybrid powertrains, by focusing on plug-in technology.