Meet Jelani Aliyu — The Genius Who Designed GM’s Flagship Electric Vehicle, the Chevy Volt

As a child, Jelani Aliyu always loved cars and it was his dream to design cars when he grew up. Now, he is known around the world as the genius who designed the Chevrolet Volt, which is considered to be the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market today.

Getting started

Born and raised in Soko state, Nigeria, Jelani won a 4-year scholarship and moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1990 to study auto design at the College for Creative Studies. During this time, he won two design awards from both Ford Motor Company and Michelin.

In 1994, he began his career with the design staff of General Motors, the world’s largest automobile maker, and initially worked on the Buick Rendezvous and the Pontiac G6. In 1997, he participated in a 10-month auto engineering competition that he won, and it was here that he developed a hybrid, eco-friendly vehicle that uses a gas engine to produce additional electricity.

That vehicle was the Chevrolet Volt, voted by the U.S. EPA in 2014 as the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market, using electrical power from a battery plus gasoline of just 3.8L/100 km.

Breaking records

Since 2010, more than 150,000 units have been sold in the United States and Canada making the Chevrolet Volt cumulatively the best-selling plug-in electrified vehicle in both countries – outselling other electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.

It almost didn’t happen

What is interesting about Jelani’s story is that he had originally planned to study architecture, but a scholarship from the Sokoto state government changed his plans. Many people, including General Motors, are glad he did! To them, he is a superstar!

In fact, his knowledge, skills and hard work have been well-recognized by the auto industry.

And thanks to him, the Chevy Volt has won several prestigious auto awards, including the 2009 Green Car Vision Award, 2011 Green Car of the Year, 2011 North American Car of the Year, 2011 World Green Car, 2012 European Car of the Year, and 2016 Green Car of the Year.

Watch his interview below:


About Mastering You

"Mastering You" is about helping African American's to see their value in this world. I post only positive stories and information about what African American's have contributed to society in the past and currently. I don't post anything about Sports, Entertainment, Religion, or Politics. I also don't post anything that has a negative spin. While I am aware that there are negative things happening all over the world and that most people focus on the above four topics when it comes to African American's that is not my goal. If all you heard was negativity about any race that's all you will come to expect from them and everything else will be out of the norm. My goal is to show everyone that the negativity is often out of the norm, or at best they are equal to the positive. Just like every other race.
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