SAE Foundation Annual Report 2013 - 19

In addition to financial support from the GM
Foundation, GM provides more than 1,500 mentors
and volunteers who help reach nearly 85,000
students participating in SAE's K-8 programs.
Ms. Barra has a long history with GM which spans
back to her father who worked developing dyes
for Pontiac for 39 years. She told Jim Tankersley
of the National Journal that she still remembers
the car that first made her say, "Wow, that's cool!"
It was a late 60's vintage, cherry red convertible
Camaro owned by her cousin and Barra was 10.
Barra has no hesitation ticking off a list of challenges GM-and every carmaker-must
confront. Automakers must develop and master advanced propulsion systems, including
electric-powered cars and trucks that can drive hundreds of miles without a charge and
deliver handling and brawn on par with traditional gasoline engines. Engineers will need
to safely integrate smart technology for drivers and "infotainment" for passengers. "The
experience in the front seat is very different than the experience in the back seat," Barra
says. "We have to understand that."
Colleagues say Barra's understanding flows from her long and varied career at GM. In person,
though, it's hard to shake the idea that her approach to the job started with her cousin's red
convertible -that she is, at heart, a car girl.
In Stanford Magazine Barra explained that she has been thinking lately about the challenge
of designing cars for what's been dubbed the millennial generation. These consumers-the
children of Baby Boomers-often have lived a life without tradeoffs. Even more than their
parents, they're not going to stomach the idea of sacrificing performance for economy. They're
going to drive cars that, under proposed federal fuel regulations, will average 54.4 mpg, and
they will expect those cars to corner well, go zero to 60 in a few ticks and incorporate all their
favorite electronic toys.
It is the bright young AWIM graduates that go on to F1 in Schools™ and/or the SAE
Collegiate Design Series™ that will be helping Ms. Barra with these issues in the future!

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SAE Foundation Annual Report 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SAE Foundation Annual Report 2013

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