The story of JB Straubel’s career started at a junkyard in Wisconsin, where, at the age of 14, he discovered a discarded electric golf cart and decided to rebuild it. Thus began a lifelong fascination with energy work and electric vehicles.
At Tesla Motors, JB oversees the technical and engineering design of the vehicles, focusing on the battery, motor, power electronics, and high-level software sub-systems. Additionally, he evaluates new technology, manages vehicle systems testing, and handles technical interface with key vendors.
Prior to Tesla Motors, JB was the CTO and co-founder of the aerospace firm, Volacom, which designed a specialized high-altitude electric aircraft platform using a novel power plant. At Volacom, JB invented and patented a new long-endurance hybrid electric propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing. Before Volacom, JB worked at Rosen Motors as a propulsion engineer developing a new hybrid electric vehicle drivetrain based on a micro turbine and a high-speed flywheel. JB was also part of the early team at Pentadyne, where he designed and built a first-generation 150kW power inverter, motor-generator controls, and magnetic bearing systems.
Armed with a bachelor’s in energy systems engineering and an master’s in energy engineering from Stanford University, JB left the cold winters of Wisconsin for good. He now lives in Menlo Park, Calif., where he continues to indulge his passion for electric transportation: he built an electric Porsche 944 that held a world EV racing record, a custom electric bicycle, and a pioneering hybrid trailer system. JB is also an accomplished pilot.