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Electric vehicle guru Tom Gage leaves AC Propulsion [Updated]

October 5, 2011 |  3:39 pm

  Tom Gage of AC Propulsion
Electric car pioneer Thomas Gage has resigned the chief executive’s post at AC Propulsion.

[Updated Oct. 5, 2011, 4:30 p.m.: “Gage’s resignation was a joint decision between Gage and the AC Propulsion Board of Directors. The move will allow AC Propulsion to align more closely with its investors and expanding EV component market in China,” the company said in a statement.

AC Propulsion said Gage did not say what he plans to do next except that he would remain involved with electric vehicles and would provide more details at a later date.]

The San Dimas company makes high-tech batteries and drive systems for electric vehicles, including a test fleet of BMW's electric Minis. The company also has built drive trains for electric motorcycles and has retrofitted a post office delivery van into a plug-in electric vehicle.

Gage, who left Tuesday, joined AC Propulsion in 1996, directing strategy and market planning, business development, and communications.

Gage has had a long career in the auto industry. 

A self-described "car nut" since childhood, Gage moved to Georgia to work as a race mechanic after graduating from Stanford University with an engineering degree.  He then landed a job at Chrysler, where he received his first exposure to electric transportation, working on a program to develop plug-in passenger vehicles.

That effort sputtered, and Gage ultimately left Detroit for California to consult on advanced vehicle technologies, eventually joining AC Propulsion and working his way up to the chief executive’s post.

One of his more recent moves at AC Propulsion was to start construction of a second, bigger plant in China, attracted by real estate benefits, tax breaks and the promise of product purchases by opportunistic officials eager for American technology. However, in an interview, Gage told the times that research and development would remain in the United States.

Paul F. Carosa, the company’s vice president of engineering, is serving as interim president.


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Photo: Tom Cage, who resigned as CEO of AC Propulsion in San Dimas, with an electric motor that will power this postal van. Credit: Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times