VP and Chief Science Officer

Dr. Burns is a leading expert in automotive mechatronics, specializing in the design, simulation, and prototyping of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Many of Dr. Burns’ most noteworthy achievements were accomplished while he was a professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) from 1994 to 2007 and department chairman from 2008-2009 at Southern Utah University (SUU). During this period Dr. Burns co-created SDSU’s Masters in Engineering Program and founded and led the Facility for Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (FAME), which became one of the industry’s most recognized R&D centers focused on electric vehicle design. Projects led by Dr. Burns included a U.S. Department of Energy-funded program to develop sustainable energy solutions for SUVs, in partnership with General Motors.

Dr. Burns has extensive experience in development of electric vehicle control software and in developing and utilizing simulation tools to optimize controls. While at SDSU, Dr. Burns led development of the university’s SHAPES hybrid vehicle system simulator, a stand-alone, graphical, optimizing, energy system and vehicle system design tool. Prior to joining SDSU, Dr. Burns worked for a combined total of seven years at General Dynamics and DuPont, specializing in composite materials research and applications.

Dr. Burns received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1994, and his B.S. in Engineering and Mechanics from Penn State University, where he graduated with honors in 1985. He has served as President of the San Diego Electric Vehicle Association and is widely recognized as a luminary in the emerging field of electric vehicle design.