Apr 13

Former lead Volt engineer hired by BMW

 

The German Opel engineer who held a pivotal role in developing the Chevrolet Volt and European market derivatives was recently hired away by BMW.

Frank Weber will likely be a strong asset to Bavarian Motor Works, which is developing a range of advanced-tech projects from an all-electric i3 to a plug-in hybrid i8, along with models in between and possibly even a range-extended platform.

Indeed BMW, which is known as a proud engineering firm, deviated from its institutional preference to promote from within by hiring Weber. According to Automotive News Europe, Weber will report to BMW’s head of research and development, Klaus Draeger.

Weber started with Opel in 1991 after completing his engineering studies at Darmstadt University and was given several leading roles at the technical development center in Ruesselsheim, including director of advanced concept engineering.


Weber is pictured a few years ago here with GM’s pre-production Volt show car.

His involvement with the Volt began spring of 2007. He was initially hired as E-Flex/Volt VLE a couple months after the concept car was shown in January of that year. He went on to prove himself as GM’s global chief engineer over the Volt project.

For this assignment, Weber showed a deep-level grasp of the range-extended car, and helped expedite it from gleam-in-the-eye concept stage to the serial production car we have now.

In 2008, while the work was still in progress, Weber sat down with GM-Volt.com founder, Dr. Lyle Dennis, to offer his views in an interview that led off with the question: “What was GM’s motivation to build the Volt?”

“Societal challenge,” Weber said, “Look at the future. What you see is that not the industry nor any individual OEM can afford not to believe that this is [the] next big step, because it is the only technology currently available that can make a fundamental difference.”

Another of his quotes laden with visionary tones was, “Many of the things we are currently doing are very fundamental technical decisions that will guide this architecture for years and almost decades.”


GM-Volt’s founder, Dr. Lyle Dennis, interviewed and featured Weber a few times when he was working on the Volt project.

It is sentences like these that indicate Weber had an encompassing mind’s eye view of the engineered possibilities for advanced technology.

After his work on the Volt project had largely been completed, in late 2009 Weber moved back to work as Opel’s head of corporate planning on Opel and Vauxhall projects.

Weber’s hiring by BMW now makes him the second top-tier GM executive to recently jump ship with extensive knowledge of Opel’s future product plans. In October 2010, Volkswagen AG hired former Opel Managing Director Hans Demant to be its senior vice president in charge of international relations.

And while this is only conjecture, it would appear Weber’s thinking may already be making itself felt. It was only about a week ago that BMW announced it would consider a range-extended car.

In any event, Weber’s hiring surely demonstrates BMW’s strong desire to evolve from the maker of “Ultimate Driving Machines” to the maker of ultimate advanced-technology driving machines. Spy photos and videos have shown the company is very busy, as are its European competitors.

BMW did some work with a limited fleet of electric MiniEs, but these are not slated for mainstream production. The first BMW battery electric vehicles are estimated to be in production by 2013. Either the i3 BEV, or i8 plug-in hybrid, or both could be in production by then.

Opel has not yet announced Weber’s replacement.

Source: Automotive News Europe

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 58


  1. 1
    Xiaowei1

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (6:05 am)

    A very pivotal head hunt. Whilst BMW have been working with electrics for some time, GM have a production car already, placing them ahead of the game. This is one way to catch-up quickly on their competitor and learn the various trade secrets Weber can no-doubt provide – and improve on same.


  2. 2
    Shock Me

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (7:10 am)

    This aggressive head hunting says more to me about the commitment of major automakers to EV and EREVs than any advertising scheme could. Spread the word Frank!


  3. 3
    joe

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (7:21 am)

    Xiaowei1,

    Money just about can buy anyone. No loyalty here.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:00 am)

    I would think he would have to be careful with GM’s intellectual property rights.
    We’ll see. The more car manufacturers involved in the electrification for the automobile, the better.
    Frank Weber is an excellent choice to lead the way.

    Joe, in the USA, be loyal to yourself. Companies have no issue screwing their workers.
    +1 to you.


  5. 5
    Jim I

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:00 am)

    This is BMW’s gain and a real loss to GM!!!

    GM needs to rethink letting talent like this get away…………

    But you can’t blame him for leaving. If BMW offered him a real increase in pay, it is his right to do the best he can for himself and his family.

    JMHO

    NPNS

    Have Outlet – Ready For A Blue EREV In Ohio!!!!


  6. 6
    Xiaowei1

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:04 am)

    joe: Xiaowei1, Money just about can buy anyone. No loyalty here.

    Money can buy anyone… it can also retain. Weber may also have felt more creative control at BMW or simply felt BMW seems more committed to his line of work (through next step innovation). We will probably never know.

    At the end of the day, he has his own career to think about, and his own family to feed. I just hope he can continue to bring us next generation alternative propulsion vehicles to remove oil from the driving equation.


  7. 7
    Truman

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:16 am)

    Mr. Weber did a good job on a high profile project – that’s always good for your career, and I’m glad other auto companies value experience with an EREV. Like all major car companies, BMW knows electrics are poised to take off in the early 21st century, and the field will move quickly.

    I hope GM has found, or headhunted, key people who are now working on Volt II and Volt III. American, German, Korean, Japanese, Nigerian, Swedish – whatever, it’s a global civilization now, whoever can best help the next generation Volt has my vote.


  8. 8
    Schmeltz

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:16 am)

    His enthusiasm for the Volt was infectious. I wish he would have stayed with GM and more importantly the Voltec program, but still wish him well at BMW. GM lost a great one there.


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    kdawg

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:53 am)

    Don’t these guys sign non-competes?


  10. 10
    N Riley

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (9:32 am)

    He has to walk a very thin line while still providing BMW a benefit for his salary. Most of his skills may be more behind the scenes for the time being. There is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, I am told. It may just take a little time for him to develop an alternate technology that would not conflict with the Voltec system. I am sure he and the other BMW engineers are capable of doing so.


  11. 11
    Mark Z

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (10:07 am)

    Where one engineer goes, others could soon follow. If the result is more extended range and EV vehicles in the world, then it is a very good move. I wish Frank all the best in his new position. His work on the Volt will continued to be appreciated during each drive.


  12. 12
    Bonaire

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (10:08 am)

    kdawg,
    A non-compete is usually not held-up in court. We’ve seen high-ups go from company to company in many industries. A non-compete usually is specific. Like if I went to work for a company that my current employer contracts me to. But a non-compete cannot keep him from working in the auto-design industry.

    He may be beholden to a non-disclosure agreement in which is cannot share GM trade secrets or engineering advantages.

    I work as an IT consultant – a non-compete for me would say I could not work as an IT consultant for another company and that would not hold up in any court as it stops you from working “anywhere else” in your field of expertise.


  13. 13
    stuart22

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (10:18 am)

    I think Weber will be more comfortable and therefore happier working for a full German firm rather than a German captive of a foreign conglomerate. My sense is that it was not a money issue as much as a personal ‘fit’ issue.

    The window of opportunity for GM to firmly establish themselves as the most prestigious leader in electric powered vehicles is going to close up in a few years. All the more reason for Voltec technology to hurry up and make an appearance in Cadillacs and Buicks.


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    Jackson

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (10:45 am)

    This is only the latest and greatest loss to the Voltec program over the past year or so. This trend is of great concern to me. The Volt represents a great step forward for the entire industry; but can GM continue to lead for long without it’s visionaries; it’s key engineers?


  15. 15
    Dave K.

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (10:59 am)

    I wish Frank well at BMW. BMW owners considering a Chevy Volt may now wait to see what happens. The BMW EV will be faster than the Volt. Will have road sensing suspension and LED headlights. It will also cost $20k more. An interesting development.

    NPNS


  16. 16
    Jason M. Hendler

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:12 am)

    I wish Frank all the best. He gave GM his best when dealt an extremely difficult hand – build an EREV using:

    - Opel Astra platform
    - upgrade-able 2-mode hybrid drivetrain
    - large format lithium ion batteries, which hadn’t been used before in the application
    - whatever electronics from the EV1 that are applicable

    He produced the best car possible from these limitations (although, using existing hardware is often an advantage, as it prevents analysis paralysis and keeps everyone within boundaries).

    The BMW i8 concept opens things up for Frank – ultra light carbon fiber body, extreme aero dynamic features (air vectoring to feed low pressure pockets), more complex gearing, etc., which will allow him to create an even more refined vehicle (albeit for a higher price).


  17. 17
    Lyle

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:29 am)

    Frank Weber has genuine and deep enthusiasm for EVs and is a very smart, very straightforward honest guy.

    GMs loss will surely be BMWs great gain.

    All the best to Frank.


  18. 18
    DonC

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Bonaire: A non-compete is usually not held-up in court.

    I think German courts routinely uphold them, in contrast to say CA courts which generally find them unenforceable or so circumscribed as to be toothless.


  19. 19
    dwwbkw

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:30 am)

    BMW is an engineering company, and Frank is an engineer with great vision. A great fit. BMW is already looking down the road. They are right now setting up their plant here in Washington state to manufacture carbon fiber body parts and frames. They can do this, since they produce for the high-end, high-quality market.


  20. 20
    Jackson

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:33 am)

    Lyle:
    Frank Weber has genuine and deep enthusiasm for EVs and is a very smart, very straightforward honest guy.

    GMs loss will surely be BMWs great gain.

    All the best to Frank.

    Good to see you. Don’t be stranger.


  21. 21
    DonC

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:35 am)

    Frank Weber was always one of my favorites and I was sorry to see him leave the Volt program and depart for Opel. BMW is rumored to have concluded that EREVs are a better way to go than BEVs, and it’s hard to imagine a better person to add for this purpose than Frank Weber. It may be a loss for GM but if Frank ends up in the BMW EV program it will be a gain for the EV community.


  22. 22
    Noel Park

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:41 am)

    DonC: I think German courts routinely uphold them, in contrast to say CA courts which generally find them unenforceable or so circumscribed as to be toothless.

    #18

    Whether you call it a “non-compete”, a “non-disclosure” or whatever, there have been some celebrated lawsuits in Europe over the “stealing” of “trade secrets” by migrating engineers and executives. My sense of it is the same as yours, that the European courts are pretty sympathetic to corporations whose R&D is carried elsewhere when folks change jobs. There was one famous case a few years ago about a hotshot VW purchasing manager who came to work for a US auto firm, if memory serves. Indeed a tightrope for Mr. Weber to walk. +1


  23. 23
    Noel Park

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:43 am)

    dwwbkw: They can do this, since they produce for the high-end, high-quality market.

    #19

    As opposed to us?


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:45 am)

    joe: Money just about can buy anyone. No loyalty here.

    #3

    The Dark Side is always calling, LOL. +1

    I personally wouldn’t be seen dead in a BMW.


  25. 25
    Mike-o-Matic

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:49 am)

    Noel Park: #3
    I personally wouldn’t be seen dead in a BMW.

    That’s good Noel, we prefer you breathing!!

    I’ve always been a big fan of Mr. Weber and the role he’s played in the Volt’s creation. Good luck at BMW, Frank!


  26. 26
    pjkPA

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    CMU or MIT graduates a lot of engineers that can replace this guy in a minute.


  27. 27
    KUD

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    This proves the VOLT is a game changer. Why would you be interested in VOLT engineers otherwise.


  28. 28
    Jackson

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    pjkPA:
    CMU or MIT graduates a lot of engineers that can replace this guy in a minute.

    … with the passion and vision of a Weber or a Posawatz? Able to get and keep the ear of a major corporation? Perhaps not so much. This takes more than numbers and book learnin’.


  29. 29
    Noel Park

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:13 pm)

    pjkPA: CMU or MIT graduates a lot of engineers that can replace this guy in a minute.

    #26

    Damn right! +1

    And dozens of other US universities as well. There’s a reason why people come from all over the world to study here. If our kids are too lazy to go to engineering school, there are plenty of others around the world who aren’t, alas.


  30. 30
    maharguitar

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:18 pm)

    When a major project finishes and get out the door a lot of people involved decide to move on. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One, postpartum depression, You’ve just done this amazing thing and now what? More of the same? Perhaps it’s time to look around.

    Two, the type of brain needed to create the next big thing is quite different from the type needed to refine and improve the current big thing.

    Finally, Since GM has already started the next “next big thing” before the Volt was out. It’s impossible for the innovators on the Volt to get on the ground floor of the next project.


  31. 31
    EVO

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:22 pm)

    The tip of the iceberg just got slightly larger.

    My wild conjecture from yesterday seems to have legs:

    http://www.favstocks.com/gm-develops-prototype-two-mode-hybrid-transmission-with-enhanced-ev-capability-for-plug-in-hybrids/1344642/

    Looks like a bunch of makers are expanding from their current configurations into also having higher speed more electric more of the time re-configurations. The transition continues. Is it time to stop making full gassers yet?


  32. 32
    Schmeltz

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    DonC: It may be a loss for GM but if Frank ends up in the BMW EV program it will be a gain for the EV community.

    I know and you’re probably right Don C, but it still feels like our star quarterback is leaving us and going to play for another team.

    Someone cue the music…”Breaking up is hard to do”. :)


  33. 33
    kdawg

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:34 pm)

    pjkPA: CMU or MIT graduates a lot of engineers that can replace this guy in a minute.

    Central Michigan University? (aka #2 party school after MSU)
    j/k ;-)


  34. 34
    kdawg

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    maharguitar: When a major project finishes and get out the door a lot of people involved decide to move on. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One, postpartum depression, You’ve just done this amazing thing and now what? More of the same? Perhaps it’s time to look around.
    Two, the type of brain needed to create the next big thing is quite different from the type needed to refine and improve the current big thing.
    Finally, Since GM has already started the next “next big thing” before the Volt was out. It’s impossible for the innovators on the Volt to get on the ground floor of the next project.

    There’s another reason, though I doubt it’s the case here, but to avoid responsibility for your decisions/work/actions.


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    T 1

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    EVO: are expanding from their current configurations into also having higher speed more electric more of the time re-configurations. The transition continues.

    Go go go GM. The race is heating up.


  36. 36
    Raymondjram

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:03 pm)

    EVO:
    The tip of the iceberg just got slightly larger.

    My wild conjecture from yesterday seems to have legs:

    http://www.favstocks.com/gm-develops-prototype-two-mode-hybrid-transmission-with-enhanced-ev-capability-for-plug-in-hybrids/1344642/

    Looks like a bunch of makers are expanding from their current configurations into also having higher speed more electric more of the time re-configurations. The transition continues. Is it time to stop making full gassers yet?

    For us engineers who love to see how thing work, this is great news.

    It shows how GM’s advanced mechanical engineering has been designing more solutions to the electric motor-to-wheel interfacing. Many years ago, when I learned that Suzuki had a CVT in a gas car, I thought that it would be the best type of transmission to interface an electric motor. Now this article shows that I wasn’t alone in my thinking.

    I hope that GM completes the design and test for this transmission and install it in the next generations of EVs, both large and small.

    Raymond


  37. 37
    joe

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    kdawg,

    The designs of the Volt and it’s process, the most sophisticated project in GM’s history, is now going to a GM competitor. Weber can steer BMW the right direction due to his knowledge as head chief of the Volt project. He knows all the in’s and out’s. Now BMW can save a lot’s of time and money designing a BMW’s Volt equivalent, all at GM’s expense. Some of you may not think this is serious, but I’m sure GM thinks otherwise. I predict sometime in the future GM will have to go to court, because secrets were given.

    You can bet GM tried to keep Weber by treating and paying him well, but as some put it, it’s his career, like he had none at GM.


  38. 38
    LauraM

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    Noel Park: Whether you call it a “non-compete”, a “non-disclosure” or whatever, there have been some celebrated lawsuits in Europe over the “stealing” of “trade secrets” by migrating engineers and executives. My sense of it is the same as yours, that the European courts are pretty sympathetic to corporations whose R&D is carried elsewhere when folks change jobs. There was one famous case a few years ago about a hotshot VW purchasing manager who came to work for a US auto firm, if memory serves. Indeed a tightrope for Mr. Weber to walk. +1

    Somehow I suspect that the decision would go the other way in this particular case. If a European firm is getting trade secrets from a US firm…


  39. 39
    LauraM

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    Noel Park: And dozens of other US universities as well. There’s a reason why people come from all over the world to study here. If our kids are too lazy to go to engineering school, there are plenty of others around the world who aren’t, alas.

    It’s not about laziness. There are a lot of other reasons American students don’t major in engineering. (Although, it’s not true that none of them do.)

    First of all, college is very very expensive. Many foreign students that come here for undergrad either have some sort of scholarship, or they are wealthy enough that they don’t have to work their way through college. It gives them an enormous advantage. And, foreign students who come here for graduate school generally don’t have enormous loans from undergrad.

    Second, accounting, economics, and law all pay a lot more than engineering. And they are easier subjects. And, the common wisdom is that they are a lot more secure employment.
    (Not sure if that’s true or not. But that’s the common belief.)


  40. 40
    DonC

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:38 pm)

    pjkPA: CMU or MIT graduates a lot of engineers that can replace this guy in a minute.

    I’d say the chances of having a newly minted graduate of any school being able to replace Frank Weber would be about zero, give or take a few decimal places. There is a big difference in real world talent between the best and the merely good, not to mention the difference between the best and the worst. In this case the institutional history alone would take a couple of decades to replace.

    Slightly OT but this is the problem large companies have doing software. The difference between the most productive programmers and those of average productivity is huge. But the HR department has a pay scale that treats everyone with X years of experience or Y degrees the same. Unlike in sales where there is a big difference between the pay of the most and least effective, in technical areas the most the and least effective tend to be paid the same, leading the best to move to smaller companies which can more accurately rate their performance.


  41. 41
    DonC

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    LauraM: There are a lot of other reasons American students don’t major in engineering.

    There are plenty of Americans who major in engineering. A whole lot of them are Asian Americans. Luckily it takes all kinds.


  42. 42
    Loboc

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:42 pm)

    BMW’s are not always more expensive from a TCO perspective. Their resale value is typically much higher than a high-end American car.

    Thus, I buy used American cars rather than get sucked in to the ‘German Engineering’ sink hole.


  43. 43
    Loboc

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (1:52 pm)

    LauraM: Second, accounting, economics, and law all pay a lot more than engineering. And they are easier subjects. And, the common wisdom is that they are a lot more secure employment.
    (Not sure if that’s true or not. But that’s the common belief.)

    This depends a lot on the field of Engineering. My lawyer friend says that he is constantly amazed at the salaries that Software Engineers and IT folks in general can command.


  44. 44
    LauraM

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    DonC: There are plenty of Americans who major in engineering. A whole lot of them are Asian Americans. Luckily it takes all kinds.

    Absolutely. And, it’s not just Asian Americans.

    http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind10/c2/c2h.htm

    However, a much lower percentage of degrees awarded are in science and engineering than in, say, Japan, or China.


  45. 45
    LauraM

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (3:01 pm)

    Loboc: This depends a lot on the field of Engineering. My lawyer friend says that he is constantly amazed at the salaries that Software Engineers and IT folks in general can command.

    I don’t know much about IT employment, other than that I’ve talked to a lot of bitter IT people who are convinced that their jobs are moving to India. It’s possible that I just happen to meet most of the poor performers, but I’ve read about it in the news, so it’s not just them…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123799610031239341.html#mod=testMod

    Meanwhile, most lawyers I know make a LOT of money. Of course, I’m sure the ones I talk to don’t represent the country average.

    That said, the median annual salary for computer systems software engineers in 2008 was $92,430. For computer applications software engineers, $85,430 For lawyers, the median wage was $110,590.

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos303.htm

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos053.htm


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    Jackson

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Lyle: (#17)

    Jackson: Good to see you.Don’t be stranger.

    I meant “Don’t be a stranger.”

    is there really such a thing as enough edit time? ;-)


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    dwwbkw

     

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    Apr 13th, 2011 (3:54 pm)

    Noel Park,

    I did not mean to imply US companies don’t produce cars for the high end market. We cover a broader spectrum of the market than does BMW, which has purposely focused on producing high-end cars. Does GM have any production models in development that use carbon fiber bodies? I suppose the Corvette has that, but it is an expensive car. BMW’s forte is high performance cars with excellent handling characteristics – which is a limited market. Frankly, the Volt is a revolutionary car, and BMW knows that. I would assume that Frank Weber was delighted to be asked to join BMW and lead the effort in developing their future EVs/EREVs. It’s an engineer’s dream job.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (5:15 pm)

    If my memory serves, the 2-mode transmission, which seems to have several features in common with the Voltec EVT, including 2 electric motors, was a joint-venture development between GM, Mercedes & BMW. This makes me wonder if several of the key patent claims for both the 2-mode & the EVT, which is clearly the heart of the Voltec power train, aren’t held jointly by all three auto makers. If so, Weber could very well be on rather familiar, (and safe) ground at BMW so far as intellectual property is concerned. In fact, it even strikes me that BMW’s deservedly-celebrated drive train engineers might have actually had something very similar to the Volt’s EREV concept in mind during the 2-mode development effort several years ago.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (5:19 pm)

    LauraM: It’s not about laziness. There are a lot of other reasons American students don’t major in engineering. (Although, it’s not true that none of them do.)

    A lot of people START majoring in engineering, then change majors once they start failing classes. Anyone in an engineering program that is not also in a co-op program is making a huge mistake. You need the real-world experience and you also help guarantee yourself a job when you graduate. GMI/Kettering (where many GM people attended) requires you to co-op just to go to school there. GM used to be the #1 co-op employer back in the day, but so much in the last 15-20 years. That’s part of the reason for the name changes from GM-tech to GMI to Kettering University.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (5:24 pm)

    LauraM: Meanwhile, most lawyers I know make a LOT of money. Of course, I’m sure the ones I talk to don’t represent the country average.
    That said, the median annual salary for computer systems software engineers in 2008 was $92,430. For computer applications software engineers, $85,430 For lawyers, the median wage was $110,590.

    From my experience, if you really want to rake it in, get your engineering degree, then your law degree and become a patent lawyer… (cha-ching)

    Also note most engineering majors go on to managment roles with increased pay, but I don’t know how that stacks up in the statistics.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    kdawg: A lot of people START majoring in engineering, then change majors once they start failing classes. Anyone in an engineering program that is not also in a co-op program is making a huge mistake. You need the real-world experience and you also help guarantee yourself a job when you graduate. GMI/Kettering (where many GM people attended) requires you to co-op just to go to school there. GM used to be the #1 co-op employer back in the day, but so much in the last 15-20 years. That’s part of the reason for the name changes from GM-tech to GMI to Kettering University.

    “Co-oping” certainly gave an engineer a big advantage as a new graduate at Georgia Tech when
    I was in undergrad school. In fact, since Tech didn’t offer a co-op program in Physics, I did my co-oping in EE*, then went back afterward for my BS in Physics. An academic background in both EE & Physics, plus the hands-on experience working during my alternate quarters with aerospace engineers and scientists, was a HUGE advantage over non-co-ops when I started work right out of school on the Apollo program to put men on the moon!

    *My family was of very modest means, so co-oping was the only way I could afford college (plus, I had NO big loans to pay off afterward)!


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (5:58 pm)

    Just curious:

    An electric vehicle just did 190 mph from a dead stop for a mile with 88% at vehicle energy efficiency, including energy to engine/motor, aerodynamic, drivetrain and wheels on ground resistance losses. That’s a NASCAR big track speed. What’s the at vehicle energy efficiency % for a current NASCAR vehicle at race speeds from a dead stop for a mile for comparison?


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (6:55 pm)

    Noel Park: #18

    Whether you call it a “non-compete”, a “non-disclosure” or whatever, there have been some celebrated lawsuits in Europe over the “stealing” of “trade secrets” by migrating engineers and executives.My sense of it is the same as yours, that the European courts are pretty sympathetic to corporations whose R&D is carried elsewhere when folks change jobs.There was one famous case a few years ago about a hotshot VW purchasing manager who came to work for a US auto firm, if memory serves.Indeed a tightrope for Mr. Weber to walk.+1

    My understanding of non-competes is that they are of limited duration and very specific. Say 5 years, and specific ideas. Also, they don’t cover any published information. So someone who was following the rules might not tell his teammates exactly how GM designed a part or system, but he is certainly free to point them to published articles, or pages in a textbook, and then watch as the lightbulbs pop up and the “oh, yeah, now I get it” starts to be mumbled as his new colleagues figure things out for themselves.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (6:59 pm)

    EVO:
    Just curious:

    An electric vehicle just did 190 mph from a dead stop for a mile with 88% at vehicle energy efficiency, including energy to engine/motor, aerodynamic, drivetrain and wheels on ground resistance losses. That’s a NASCAR big track speed. What’s the at vehicle energy efficiency % for a current NASCAR vehicle at race speeds from a dead stop for a mile for comparison?

    Are negative numbers allowable?


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (8:08 pm)

    #53

    OK, the guy’s name came back to me and I did a quick web search. It was Jose Ignacio “Inaki” Lopez. I had it backwards I think. He actually worked for Opel, and then GM. When he left GM for VW he reputedly took some confidential documents with him. The guy was reputedly the most ruthless and effective purchasing manager in the industry, but his career was effectively destroyed by the scandal.

    I’m sure that your analysis is correct in that a careful and discreet person can thread the needle and stay out of trouble. But it is a fine line to walk. Mr. Weber needs to be VERY careful and discreet. I’m sure that GM/Opel will be watching like hawks.

    I have no quarrel with Mr. Weber or his career decisions. He is clearly a brilliant engineer/manager, and his work speaks for itself. I just don’t like BMW. I see them as purveyors of high priced “prestige” cars to the rich and arrogant, and I have no time for them.

    And purveyors of high performance aero engines to the 3rd Reich, BTW. I remember, even if others do not.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 (11:28 pm)

    I can only assume this will be the thread for tomorrow. :-)

    2011 Chevy Volt Wins Best Engineered Vehicle

    “This evening, at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ World Congress in Detroit, the readers and editors of SAE International’s Automotive Engineering International (AEI) magazine have selected the 2011 Chevrolet Volt as the ‘Best Engineered Vehicle of 2011.’”

    I have honestly lost track of the number of awards!


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    Apr 14th, 2011 (3:02 am)

    jeffhre: Are negative numbers allowable?

    Nope, those are the ones that sit at the starting line after the flag drops and do nothing but burn fuel. They never get to race speeds and never go a foot, let alone a mile.


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    Apr 18th, 2011 (6:29 pm)

    I think there would be a lot more engineers if hot chicks found us attractive. It’s all their fault. ;-)