Inside Tesla's Innovation Engine
JB Straubel is part of the founding team and the Chief Technical Officer of the pioneering electric car company Tesla Motors. Recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the world, Tesla is challenging people’s perceptions of electric vehicles and leading transformation in the auto industry. As CTO, Straubel oversees the technical and engineering design of Tesla’s vehicles as well as other responsibilities such as new technology evaluation and R&D.
Tesla’s breakthrough work isn’t just restricted to the auto industry. In another pioneering step, Tesla has also recently entered the home energy market by unveiling the Powerwall home battery that stores solar energy to minimize the use of major utility providers electricity during peak hours or even possibly getting off the commercial power grid altogether. Prior to Tesla Motors, Straubel was the CTO and co-founder of Volacom working closely with Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites to design a specialized high-altitude aircraft platform using a novel hydrogen-powered electric power plant. At Volacom, he co-invented and patented the new long-endurance hybrid propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing. Although he did not originally intend to work in the automobile industry, Straubel has had a long personal passion for electric vehicles, including building an Electric Porsche 944 that held a world EV racing record, a Custom Electric Bicycle, and a pioneering new Hybrid Trailer System that he designed while in college.