Women around the world are celebrated on International Women’s Day, and rightly so. In the world of electric vehicles there is a multitude of women who are making a major difference in the industry and continue to break barriers.
Here is the EVision Electric Vehicles salute to just a few of these remarkable women who have made their mark. A lot of young girls will follow in the footsteps of these incredible ladies. The future is looking very bright indeed, and women are at the front, leading the way.
The Engineer – Linda Zhang
Where better to start than with a celebrated engineer from the Ford Motor Company, Linda Zhang. Linda isn’t just an engineer, though. This is the chief engineer who is the brains behind the incredible Ford F150 Lightning. The modern electric incarnation of the Ford pickup truck.
Linda arrived in the USA as an immigrant around 30 years ago and went to work for Ford. In her time at the manufacturer she has not only led the F150 product and launch team, she has served as chief engineer of global hybrid and electric vehicles, and she has held a position in Ford’s C-suite. Linda also served as a powertrain engineer in her early days at Ford. This is traditionally a very male dominated area of the business that she broke into.
When it comes to the F150 pickup truck, Linda is not alone. There is a very strong female team that is behind the vehicle that has led the rollout. Others, such as Megan Gegesky who served as the program management launch supervisor, and Lisa Drake who is the vice president of electric vehicle industrialization at Ford.
The E-Mobility Professional – Dr Shelley Francis
Dr Francis is the co-founder and managing partner of EVNoire. This incredible company has won national awards for their work in e-mobility, equity, inclusion and integration. EVNoire works with many different types of organisations to offer advice and guidance in moving away from the use of fossil fuels and to promote the use of greener alternative energy.
It is no surprise that Dr Francis is a keen advocate of greener energy. The title in her name is not for show. Dr Francis is a brilliant woman who has trained as a doctor, served as a faculty member at a Medical School and is a public health executive. She is well aware of the health benefits that come from using alternative fuels, including through electric vehicles, and this is a big part of why the company was founded.
The Physicist – Helen Czerski
Helen is someone that you may be very familiar with already. She is, in fact, one of the presenters and experts on the Fully Charged Show. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to include Helen on this list. She has an ability to make very complex scientific concepts understandable to the everyday person. And, lets face it, there is a lot of science involved in the world of electric vehicles and the future developments and advancements. With Helen Czerski at the front and centre, we feel that we too are understanding and are a part of the future.
Of course, there is a very good reason why Helen is so good at explaining complex things. She is a brilliant scientist who has supreme expertise in the area of physics. A member of the Royal Society (and a presenter of one of the Royal Societies famous Christmas lectures for children), Helen actually fully understands everything she is talking about. Her expertise is in water and the oceans, and she has a very strong interest in sustainable models for the future.
The Head of The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles – Katie Black
The next 7 years are guaranteed to be a very busy period for Katie Black as she oversees so many changes that are coming in the lead up to the ban on new petrol and diesel cars.
Katie has stated quite clearly to transport leaders that the quickest way to decarbonise the country is to decarbonise transport. This is an area that she is very passionate about and something that she has already shown great success for.
In 2011 when the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles was first set up, there were only 1,052 electric cars on UK roads. Now there are more than half a million and growing rapidly. Katie’s strategy for the EV expansion in the UK is mainly focused on charge points themselves. The goal is not only to increase the number of charge points ten fold in the next 7 years, but also to make them much more visible and to make it easier for consumers to compare pricing and pay for charging. This is a huge task and we wish her well.
The Formula E Driver – Simona de Silvestro
For those of you who don’t know, Formula E is the electric car equivalent of Formula 1 motor racing. It is fast, it is exciting, and it is growing in popularity hugely. Although, like its combustion engine sibling, Formula E is male dominated, many women drivers are coming into the sport. Far more than we have seen in Formula 1. One lady who has made a major impact on the sport is Simona de Silvestro.
Although she was not the first female driver in Formula E, Simona was the first woman to complete a full 12 race season against male counterparts. In her first season she managed a very respectable 18th place in a field of 25 drivers. She also became the first female driver to score points in the championship when she finished 9th at the Long Beach ePrix. Simona is currently a factory driver for Porsche.
Even though her career in Formula E was short lived, she has shown to women and girls around the world that there is a place for them at the top table of racing. I’m sure we will see more women follow in her footsteps in the next few years.
We thank all of these women for their valuable contributions. They have broken barriers and are leading figures in their industry. It is because of women like these, and so many more that we could not mention, that there is a bright future for young girls in the world of electric vehicles. Whether that is designing them, building them or racing them.
To all the women who have made such an incredible impact in the world of electric vehicles and decarbonisation, we salute you.