SAE International Honors GM’s Larry Nitz with Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation

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SAE International announces that Larry T. Nitz, Executive Director, Global Propulsion Systems, with General Motors Company is the winner of the Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation. He will receive the award during the SAE 2016 World Congress, which will be held April 12-14 in Detroit.

Larrry T. Nitz

I’m accepting this award on behalf of all the men and women I’ve had the pleasure to work with, innovate with, and whose dedication and teamwork has transformed ideas into production vehicles. - Larry Nitz

SAE International announces that Larry T. Nitz, Executive Director, Global Propulsion Systems, with General Motors Company is the winner of the Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation. He will receive the award during the SAE 2016 World Congress, which will be held April 12-14 in Detroit.

“To be a recipient of the Edward N. Cole award is a great honor. I’m accepting this award on behalf of all the men and women I’ve had the pleasure to work with, innovate with, and whose dedication and teamwork has transformed ideas into production vehicles,” Nitz said. “Automotive, and especially propulsion engineering, is one of the most diverse, dynamic and passionate fields of engineering and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities I’ve been provided to make a difference throughout my career,” he added.

Mr. Nitz leads GM’s Global Transmission and Electrification team, with engineering operations in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. His team is responsible for all of GM’s automatic and manual transmissions and electrified propulsion systems. His career has spanned nearly 40 years with GM, allowing him to work on gasoline engines, manual and automatic transmissions, propulsion and vehicle controls, and hybrid and electric systems. He was deeply involved in developing clutch-to-clutch transmission controls for the Saturn Automatic and GM Allison transmissions used in Heavy Duty Trucks. His work in clutch-to-clutch control set the stage for other 6, 8, 9 and 10 speed transmissions at GM.    

In electrification, Mr. Nitz contributed technically and led teams to develop the GM Allison Parallel Hybrid for urban buses and GM’s Two-Mode Hybrid for full size trucks. He led the development of the ground breaking Chevrolet Volt propulsion system through two generations. For all electric vehicles, his team delivered the fun to drive Chevrolet Spark EV and are now completing the first affordable, long range electric powertrain for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The Bolt EV has significant innovation in its battery, efficient electric drivetrain and customer pleasing driving modes. Mr. Nitz is a member of SAE International, is a frequent presenter at SAE International events, CTI Transmission Symposiums, Electric Vehicle Symposiums, the Aachen Colloquium, FISITA Congress and the Vienna Motor Symposium. Mr. Nitz received a Bachelor’s of Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and a Master’s degree from Stanford University. He holds 44 U.S. patents and four GM Boss Kettering Awards for Engineering Innovation.    

Established in 1978, Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation Award recognizes an SAE International member whose innovative design is described in an SAE International paper or whose lifetime of accomplishment is judged to be a significant achievement in automotive engineering. Judgment is based upon the value of the work as an original innovative contribution, not upon the application of some development or invention already known. The award honors the memory of Edward N. Cole, former president and Chief Operating Officer of General Motors Corporation, and the inspiration he provided to others in the engineering profession by his continuing search and drive for product innovation.

Past award winners include:

2013 – Dr. Prasad Kadle, Delphi Corp

2012 – Dr Hussein Dourra PhD, FCA US LLC

2011 – Dr. John J Moskwa, University of Wisconsin Madison

2010 – Dr. Simon C Tung, Industrial Research Laboratories

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our charitable arm, the SAE Foundation, which helps fund programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

Shawn Andreassi of SAE International, 1-724-772-8522 or pr(at)sae(dot)org and Tom Read, GM Global Propulsion Systems Communications, 1-248-496-0852 or

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