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Hema Karunadasa, Wendy Mao, Adam Jaffe and Yu Lin

JB Straubel

JB Straubel

As one of the co-founders and the chief technical officer of Tesla Motors (TSLA), JB is today responsible for all software, electronics and propulsion across Tesla’s portfolio with direct operational responsibility for roughly one-fourth of the company. This includes all aspects of powertrain R&D, engineering and production. The propulsion performance of Tesla’s Model S has been the determining factor in winning many awards including the prestigious 2012 MotorTrend car of the year by unanimous vote. JB is also the point executive driving OEM partner relationships at Tesla with Toyota, Daimler, Panasonic and others. From these partnerships have come vehicles such as the new electric Toyota Rav4, the Smart EV from Daimler and the A-class EV from Mercedes. In addition, JB is managing the creation and construction of the Tesla Supercharge network of fast, free DC chargers making EV travel from coast to coast possible with no loss of convenience. Tesla has grown to become the leading electric vehicle company in the world and remains committed to making long-range, fun electric cars increasingly affordable to accelerate the world’s transition away from oil. 

JB’s passion for electric vehicles began at a young age starting with rebuilding electric golf carts at the age of 14, converting a Porsche 944 which held a world electric vehicle racing record. He continues to push the boundaries for electric vehicle advancements and enjoys exploring new innovations for renewable energy systems and energy storage solutions. 

Prior to Tesla, JB was the chief technical officer and co-founder of the aerospace firm, Volacom, which designed a specialized high-altitude electric aircraft platform. At Volacom, he invented and patented a new long-endurance electric propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing. Before Volacom, JB worked at Rosen Motors and Pentadyne as a propulsion engineer developing electric vehicle drivetrains based on a Capstone micro turbine and a high-speed composite flywheel battery. 

JB holds a Bachelor of Science in Energy Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Energy Engineering from Stanford University. He is the holder of 10 U.S. patents and is on 19 pending patent applications for motors, batteries and powertrain components. In addition to his current work at Tesla Motors, JB serves on the Board of Directors of SolarCity (SCTY) and is an accomplished private pilot with multi-engine, instrument and glider ratings.