Robert "Bob" Stempel, semi-retired at an energetic 78, is one of the good guys. Armed with a mechanical engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, he joined General Motor's Oldsmobile Division in 1958 as a chassis detailer and 29 years later was GM president and chief operating officer under then-CEO Roger Smith.
In the early nineties, Bob Stempel was the chairman and CEO of General Motors when development work started in earnest on the car that would eventually become the EV1. Unfortunately for him, the company hit one of their periods of rough financial times and Stempel was ousted along with president Lloyd Reuss. Stempel landed on his feet and ended up moving over to Energy Conversion Devices, the company that was developing the batteries for the EV1.
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD Ovonics) is certainly one of the pioneers in green technology. From batteries to solar cells, the company takes a lead role in many automotive pursuits, including converting a Prius gas engine to run on hydrogen.