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September 16, 2004

More Than A Pretty Face: Therese Tant

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Q: What have you been working on?
A: The Chevy Volt, an electric car. It has the ability to run purely on sustainable energy created by wind turbines, solar photovoltaic cells, methane, and the like. Hybrids still need petroleum or ethanol to feed their internal combustion engines, but electric cars don't. What we're after is sustainability - meeting today's needs without compromising the health or resources of future generations.

Q: When can we get one?
A:I don't even drive one. No production date has been set - we're still perfecting the battery technology.

Q: What's it like to work in a traditionally male field? A: So far in my career, being a woman is a bonus because I've got this other perspective to bring to the table. I was scared before getting into the field, but I was also inspired by Anne Asensio, a designer and former executive director at GM. I hope I'm doing my part to pave the way for other women.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I follow trends in furniture, fashion, and electronics. When I go to the bookstore, I come out with a stack that's equally divided between car magazines and fashion magazines. I sew or modify a lot of my own clothes. I'm fascinated by texture and color, especially in fabric. Issey Miyake and Christian Lacroix inspire me - their clothes stir the emotions! Flamboyant, alive, bold, poetic, highly influenced by contemporary art - that's how I want to design. I also admire the quick pace at which fashion trends change - it's a contrast to how long it takes to move a car from design to production.

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