Former CTO, Tesla Motors Inc.
Innovation and disruption
The future of mobility
JB Straubel is the former Chief Technical Officer of pioneering electric car manufacturers Tesla Motors, where he was also part of the founding team.
In his role as CTO, he oversaw the technical and engineering design of the vehicles, and had responsibility for new technology evaluation, R&D, technical diligence review of key vendors and partners, IP, and systems validation testing.
Before Tesla, JB was CTO and co-founder of Volacom Inc., which designed a specialised high-altitude aircraft platform using a novel hydrogen-powered electric power plant. At Volacom, JB co-invented and patented the new long-endurance hybrid propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing.
Before Volacom, JB Straubel worked with Harold and Ben Rosen at Rosen Motors as a propulsion engineer developing a new hybrid vehicle drivetrain based on a micro turbine and a high-speed flywheel. Rosen Motors ultimately closed but both main technologies carried on with commercial success, the turbine at Capstone Turbine, and the flywheel at Pentadyne Power Corp. JB was part of the early team at Pentadyne where he designed and built a 1st generation 150kw power inverter, motor-generator controls, and magnetic bearing systems.
In the area of technical expertise, JB has consulted with VC firms Taproot Ventures and Kleiner Perkins in addition to several other private equity investors to conduct technical diligence reviews for many start-ups in the energy and clean technologies category. JB has also consulted with Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute.
JB 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. He received a B.S. in Energy Systems Engineering and a M.S. in Energy Engineering, emphasis on energy conversion, both from Stanford. Outside of Tesla Motors, JB is also an accomplished pilot and holds private pilot, instrument and multi-engine ratings.
JB’s twin passions for vehicles and sustainability have made him one of the most exciting and visionary engineers in the world today.