JB Straubel is a Senior Advisor and Co-founder of Tesla, Inc., “the #1 Most Innovative Company in the World,” according to Forbes. JB was also the founding CTO (Chief Technical Officer) of the company since its beginnings until mid 2019 and managed the technical direction and engineering design of the Tesla products including Tesla battery technology, power electronics, Tesla motors, software, firmware and controls. Above all, JB also managed many important Tesla´s initiatives: the Tesla Energy business providing grid storage for commercial utilities and residential consumers; the worldwide Tesla Supercharger network of fast DC chargers; and the Tesla Gigafactory, which is leading the way toward increasing worldwide battery production and lowering the cost per kWh. Furthermore, he also was has responsible for new technology evaluation, R&D, technical diligence review of key vendors, and building partner relationships.
As of 2019, after announcing he decided to step down as CTO of the company, Tesla announced that JB will keep actively involved in some of the core technologies and help as much as possible. To stress the importance and vital role that JB had in the creation and company growth of Tesla, Elon Musk said “If I hadn’t had lunch with him in 2003, Tesla wouldn’t exist, basically”.
In addition to his work at Tesla, JB has also served on the Board of Directors for Solar City, the leading US residential solar company, since their founding. He is also a lecturer at his alma mater, Stanford University, where he created and taught an engineering class and lab focused on energy storage integration in the Engineering Department.
In 2017, JB has also co-founded and is the CEO of Redwood Materials, a circular economy startup focusing on advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse. JB believes the supply chain for batteries and metals alone is going to be one of the largest industrial growth areas in the next decade as the world shifts to renewable energy and electric transport.
JB has had a lifelong passion for electric vehicles that had him rebuild an electric golf cart at the age of 14. While at University, he did the same with a Porsche 944 and made it electric. And more impressively, it made it held a world EV racing record. He has also done solar car racing and has built a hybrid trailer system that he designed while in college. Consequently, in 2008, the MIT Technology Review chose JB as “#1 Innovator of 35 under 35 for the year”. In 2009, DesignNews named him “Engineer of the Year”. And finally, in 2015 he was listed as #2 on Fortune’s 40 under 40 most influential business and innovation leaders. JB is an inventor on over 30 patents covering most areas of Tesla’s core battery, motor and controls systems.
He received a BS in Energy Systems Engineering and also an MS in Energy Engineering, emphasis on energy conversion, both from Stanford University. Outside of Tesla Motors, Straubel is also an active cyclist and pilot and holds private pilot, instrument, glider and multi-engine ratings.