J. B. Straubel

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J. B. Straubel
The 2012 Fast 500 and VC of the Year Awards.jpg
Born (1975-12-20) December 20, 1975 (age 44)
Alma materStanford University, (B.S. 1998; M.S. 2000)[1]
OccupationEngineer, former CTO, businessman
Known forCTO of Tesla, Inc., founder & CEO of Redwood Materials
Jeffrey B. Straubel at the German Electromobility Summit 2013 in Berlin

Jeffrey Brian ("J. B.") Straubel[2] (born December 20, 1975) is an American businessman. J.B. spent 15 years at Tesla,[3] as Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer until moving to an advisory role in July 2019.[4]

In 2017, Straubel established Redwood Materials, working on the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and e-waste.[5] Carson City, Nevada based Redwood is inventing sustainable materials by creating circular supply chains, turning waste into profit and solving the environmental impacts of new products before they happen.


Straubel holds a Bachelor of Science in Energy Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Energy Engineering from Stanford University.


Straubel joined Tesla as its fifth employee in 2004,[6] and is named as a co-founder.[7] He was its inaugural chief technical officer[3] until moving to an advisory role in July 2019.[4]

At Tesla, JB built one of the best engineering teams in the world and among many topics, he led battery cell design, supply chain and led the first Gigafactory concept through the production ramp of the Model 3. JB had a direct role in both R&D, team building and operational expansion from prototype cars through to mass production and GWh-scale. Straubel also had responsibility for new technology evaluation, research and development, technical diligence review of key vendors and partners, IP, and systems validation testing.[8] In addition to his work at Tesla, Straubel was also on the board of directors at SolarCity.

He was also a lecturer at Stanford University, where he taught the energy storage integration class (CEE 176C & CEE 276C) in the Atmosphere and Energy Program for the 2015-2016 academic year.[9]

In 2017, Straubel established Redwood Materials, working on the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and e-waste.[10]

Prior to Tesla, Straubel was the CTO and co-founder of Volacom along with Harold Rosen. Volacom worked 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, Straubel co-invented and patented the new long-endurance hybrid propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing.[11]

In the area of technical expertise, Straubel 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 energy technologies category. Straubel is on the board of QuantumScape and also consults with Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute.[12]

Although he did not originally intend to work in the automobile industry, Straubel has long had a passion for electric vehicles. He built an electric Porsche 944 that earned the 240 V SC/B[13] world electric vehicle racing record in 2000.[14]

Public recognition[edit]

His photograph was taken in July 2006 driving Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Tesla Roadster at its unveiling in Santa Monica, California.[15]

Popular Science magazine featured Straubel in a full-length article in April 2007.[16]

In September 2007, Straubel spoke on an energy panel titled "Clean, Secure, and Efficient Energy" at Stanford University along with former Secretary of State, George P. Shultz, where he emphasized the importance of education about climate change, and decreasing the CO
intensity of our current energy production methods.[17][18]

In early 2008, Stanford Magazine featured Straubel's role in growing the Stanford presence at Tesla.[19]

Straubel was honored to keynote the Stanford Alumni EDAY in July 2008.[20] Also in July 2008, Straubel spoke on a transportation panel "Progression Toward EVs" at Plug In 2008.[21]

In 2008, Straubel was named Innovator of the Year by MIT's Technology Review in their annual TR35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[22][23] He spoke at MIT's Emtech conference on a panel on green transportation in Boston, MA in September 2008.[24]

In March 2012, Straubel spoke at the DESIGN West conference, produced by UBM Electronics, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA.[25]

Redwood Materials[edit]

Redwood Materials is a company established in Nevada by Straubel in 2017, to recycle lithium-ion automotive battery packs on a large scale. As of August 2020, the company has been operating in stealth mode as the technologies and processes are developed to enable the company to begin operation in the early 2020s.[10]

  • Redwood Materials is inventing sustainable materials by creating circular supply chains, turning waste into profit and solving the environmental impacts of new products before they happen.
  • In 2019, Panasonic (Tesla's battery partner) began a partnership with Redwood to reclaim the scrap it generates in making battery cells: all of the scrap coming from Panasonic’s side of the Nevada Tesla Gigafactory is now shipped to Redwood.
  • In 2020, Redwood closed its first fundraising round with $40 million raised from Capricorn Investment Group and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an environmental investment fund that includes Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.
  • As part of Amazon’s continued commitment to The Climate Pledge, a $2 billion venture investment program to back companies building technologies, products and services that will help Amazon and other companies accelerate the path to net-zero carbon, received an investment. Redwood will be able to offer Amazon and other companies sustainable ways to recycle batteries, electronics and other end of life products through environmentally-sound processing and refining technologies that create a sustainable, circular supply chain. Redwood Materials will also help Amazon properly recycle EV and other lithium-ion batteries and e-waste from other parts of Amazon’s businesses and reuse their components.
  • Redwood Materials currently has about 100 employees.
  • Straubel hopes that within 10 years recycling will bring the price of raw materials for lithium ion batteries down to about half of what it costs to mine virgin material.


  1. ^ Marsh, Ann, "BRIGHT IDEA: The Electric Company : How do you power a fast car without gas? With a really big battery", Stanford Magazine, Stanford University, January/February 2008
  2. ^ US 8803471, Sarah G. Stewart, Scott Ira Kohn, Russell Kelty & Jeffrey Brian Straubel, "Electric vehicle extended range hybrid battery pack system" 
  3. ^ a b "Tesla Motors". Tesla Motors. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  4. ^ a b Kolodny, Lora (2019-07-27). "JB Straubel wasn't just Tesla's CTO — he invented the carmaker's core technologies". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  5. ^ Lambert, Fred. "Redwood Materials". Electrek. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  6. ^ Vance, Ashlee (19 May 2015). Elon Musk : Tesla, SpaceX, and the quest for a fantastic future (First ed.). New York, NY. pp. 151–155. ISBN 978-0-06-230123-9. OCLC 881436803. On July 1, 2003, Eberhard and Tarpenning incorporated their new company. " "The third desk was occupied a few months later by Ian Wright..." "...the three men went hunting for some venture capital funding in January' 2004." "With an investment of $6.5 million, Musk had become the largest shareholder of Tesla and the chairman of the company." "Straubel stopped by the office for a meeting, and was hired right away in May 2004...
  7. ^ LaMonica, Martin. "Tesla Motors founders: Now there are five". CNET. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  8. ^ U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (29 January 2010). "Tesla Motors, Inc. Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed with the SEC". Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Energy Storage Integration - Vehicles, Renewables, and the Grid".
  10. ^ a b Battery Day is Coming! : In Depth (video). Now You Know. 15 May 2020. Event occurs at 27:09–28:. Retrieved 30 June 2020 – via YouTube.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  11. ^ "JB Straubel | Energy". energy.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  12. ^ "Amory Lovins's Extreme Energy Efficiency: Stanford Students Learn the Future of Design". Rocky Mountain Institute. 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  13. ^ "Silent Thunder 2000 - Northern California Race Results".
  14. ^ "JB Straubel on how to speed innovation like Tesla". 2015-07-15.
  15. ^ "New Tesla electric car: Unplug and play". Automotive News. 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  16. ^ "Straubel featured". Time4.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  17. ^ Benson, Sally; Ehrlich, Paul; Krupp, Fred; Shultz, George; Straubel, JB; Goodman, Amy (September 5, 2007). "Clean, Secure, and Efficient Energy: Can We Have It All?". Aurora Forum at Stanford University.
  18. ^ Kazak, Don (September 4, 2007). "Shultz to speak on energy panel at Stanford". Palo Alto Online.
  19. ^ Marsh, Ann (2009). "The Electric Company". Stanford Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  20. ^ "Stanford School of Engineering - EDAY08 schedule". Stanford University. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  21. ^ "Plug-In 2008 Conference Agenda". Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  22. ^ "2008 Young Innovators Under 35". Technology Review. 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  23. ^ Bullis, Kevin. "2008 Young Innovator: JB Straubel, 32". Technology Review.
  24. ^ TR Editors (September 24, 2008). "CNET Reports from EmTech08". Technology Review.
  25. ^ "DESIGN West Keynotes". UBM Electronics. Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2011-12-14.

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