07/28/2008 12:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Chevy Volt: "The Barack Obama Of Automobiles"

Last year, while he was working in Germany as an engineer for General Motors, Andrew Farah got a call from a senior engineer in Detroit asking him to come home.


A car. A special car.

Farah had heard about it, of course. The Chevrolet Volt was the automotive sensation of 2007, a new kind of electric hybrid that GM was proposing to have in showrooms in late 2010. Farah had advocated a similar design years earlier, so he didn't need to be sold on the idea.

Still, he hesitated. GM had called him because of his deep experience with battery-driven electric cars. In the 1990s, he had worked on GM's EV1, an all-electric technological masterpiece that had done so poorly commercially that GM wound up crushing the cars amid a hail of public condemnation. Farah had been fiercely committed to the EV1, and he was not about to relive the disappointment.

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