When Chelsea Sexton was 17 years old, she took a job with Saturn, hawking cars to help pay for college. She was good at her job, and three years later she found herself involved with GM’s most exciting new project: bringing the EV-1 electric car to market.
She threw herself into the mission, to the point of marrying an EV-1 service technician. But in 2001, GM abruptly killed the EV-1 program and dismissed most of its personnel—including Sexton.
What GM didn’t realize was that it had created a monster, which was now set loose in the world.
Sexton went on to become one of the country’s leading plug-in vehicle advocates. She led protests against GM’s decision to scrap thousands of EV-1s, and appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Who Killed the Electric Car? She formed advocacy group Plug-In America, and led the creation of the Automotive X PRIZE in 2005.
Fortnightly caught up with Sexton in June to discuss the electric vehicle market, and utilities’ role in developing it.