Larry Burns is the vice president of R&D for GM. His job? Find a new way to power cars.

Why you should listen

Larry Burns is on a mission: to reinvent the automobile using nonpolluting hydrogen fuel cells. As the vice president of R&D and strategic planning at GM, he's one of the people who will be called on to lead the US auto industry into its next incarnation.

Burns has been a persistent advocate of hydrogen power and other advanced propulsion and materials technologies for cars. His thinking is, the industry can keep making small energy improvements in the current cars it makes -- or it can take a big leap forward to build a whole new kind of car.

What others say

“GM can't have its business growth capped by energy, safety or environmental issues. We need a transition from the internal combustion engine -- a technology that has been essentially the same for 120 years. ... We have the opportunity for an all-new automotive DNA based on electric motors and fuel cells.” — Larry Burns interviewed on

Larry Burns’ TED talk

More news and ideas from Larry Burns