Nov 27, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
The green car world has lost one of its leaders -- Dave Hermance, probably more responsible than anyone in the US for the successful introduction and adoption of the Prius in the U.S. Dave was a thoughtful, open and generous person, dedicated to his work and his ideals. He was serious and funny -- I didn't know until today about his life as a pilot.
Dave was always willing to talk about what was possible, practical and worth doing. I first met him in 2002 at a meeting at EPRI of the HEV Working Group. He had recently written an article about why the US-generation-1 Prius couldn't be converted to a PHEV. And at that time, while doubtful of the strategy, he conceded that Toyota could build and get approval for a PHEV in less than a year if it became a top priority. After we "green-tuned" his car (like so many Toyota executives) he was always gracious while expressing his concerns. We will all miss him and honor his memory in what we do.
Here's how his colleagues at Toyota described him today in an AP story, followed by the story in Green Cars Congress.
(TM) technical center in the Los Angeles area, company spokesman Mike Michels said. There, he was key in developing the gas-electric Prius and bringing it to the American market, where it gained popularity for its fuel efficiency.
While much of the car's technology was developed in Japan, Hermance was perhaps the "American father of the Prius" for his tireless work evaluating and promoting it in the U.S., longtime colleague Bill Reinert said.
"When that car came out, no one knew what it was," said Reinert, a Toyota national manager. "Dave dedicated his life to championing this technology."
"He was widely recognized as the most authoritative individual on hybrid power vehicles in the U.S.," Michels said.
David Hermance, Toyota's Top US Alt-Fuels Executive, Dies in Plane Crash
26 November 2006
Automotive News. David W. Hermance, Toyota's executive engineer for advanced technology vehicles, died Saturday when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported Hermance's plane to be an Interavia E-3, which took off from Long Beach Airport with only Hermance on board. The plane crashed at about 1:20 pm about 400 yards offshore. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said that Hermance died on impact.
Hermance, 59, was Toyota's top American executive for alternative-fuel vehicles and emissions technologies in North America. He was also a pilot who enjoyed aerobatics competition, according to the report by Automotive News.
Hermance was a frequent competitor in International Aerobatics Club competitions. The Interavia E-3 is specially designed to perform elaborate stunts at high speeds. Hermance often flew off the San Pedro coast to practice aerobatics maneuvers, which included loops, spirals and stalls.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the FAA classified the plane, which is designed for aerobatics, as experimental, meaning that it was assembled by amateurs or from a kit, or was a light-sport aircraft that hadn't received a US or foreign airworthiness certificate.
The FAA has a total of five E-3 models registered.
Hermance, who started his career at GM, joined Toyota in 1991 as Senior Manager in Engine Evaluation, with responsibility for evaluating North American passenger car engines.