J. B. Straubel

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JB Straubel
Born (1975-12-20) December 20, 1975 (age 47)
Alma materStanford University, (B.S. 1998; M.S. 2000)[1]
Occupation(s)Businessman, technology executive
Known forCTO of Tesla, Inc., founder & CEO of Redwood Materials, Inc.
Board member ofTesla, Inc.
(m. 2013; died 2021)
Jeffrey B. Straubel at the German Electromobility Summit 2013 in Berlin

Jeffrey Brian Straubel[2] (born December 20, 1975) is an American businessman and electrical engineer. He spent 15 years at Tesla,[3] as chief technical officer until moving to an advisory role in July 2019.[4] In 2023, he was elected to the company's board of directors.

In 2017, Straubel founded and became the CEO of Redwood Materials, Inc., working on creating battery materials and products for lithium-ion batteries out of recycled batteries.


Straubel holds a Bachelor of Science in energy systems engineering and a Master of Science in energy engineering from Stanford University.[citation needed]


Straubel joined Tesla as its fifth employee in 2004,[5] and is named as a co-founder.[6] He was its inaugural chief technical officer[3] until moving to an advisory role in July 2019.[4]

At Tesla, Straubel led battery cell design, supply chain and led the first Gigafactory concept through the production ramp of the Model 3. He had a direct role in research and development, team building, and operational expansion from prototype cars through to mass production and expanding battery production to gigawatt-hour scale. Straubel also had responsibility for new technology evaluation, technical due diligence review of key vendors and partners, intellectual property, and systems validation testing.[7] In addition to his work at Tesla, Straubel was also on the board of directors at SolarCity. As the result of a court settlement, Straubel is legally considered to be a co-founder of Tesla.[8]

He was also a lecturer at Stanford University for the 2015-2016 academic year, where he taught the energy storage integration classes (CEE 176C & CEE 276C) in the Atmosphere and Energy Program.[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 a new long-endurance hybrid propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing.[11]

In the area of technical expertise, Straubel has consulted with venture capital firms Taproot Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, in addition to several other private equity investors, to conduct technical due 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]

Four years after leaving Tesla, Straubel was elected to its board as an independent director in May 2023.[15]

Personal life[edit]

On August 3, 2013, Straubel married Boryana Dineva and they lived in Woodside, California.[16] In 2015 she gave birth to twins.[17] When Straubel left as CTO at Tesla in July 2019, they moved to Nevada where Redwood Materials was located.[18] She had worked as a manager in human resources at Tesla and was a vice president of human resources at the Wikimedia Foundation for one year.[19]

On June 19, 2021, Boryana was killed while cycling in a designated bike lane in a rural area when a car crossed a double yellow line on Old Highway 395 in Washoe County, Nevada and hit her head-on.[20] The driver was unlicensed.[21]

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.[22]

Popular Science magazine featured Straubel in a full-length article in April 2007.[23]

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 CO2 intensity of our current energy production methods.[24][25]

In early 2008, Stanford Magazine featured Straubel's role in growing the Stanford presence at Tesla.[26]

Straubel was honored to keynote the Stanford Alumni EDAY in July 2008.[27] Also in July 2008, Straubel spoke on a transportation panel "Progression Toward EVs" at Plug In 2008.[28]

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.[29][30] He spoke at MIT's Emtech conference on a panel on green transportation in Boston, MA in September 2008.[31]

In March 2012, Straubel spoke at the DESIGN West conference, produced by UBM Electronics, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA.[32]

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 had been operating in stealth mode as the technologies and processes were developed to enable the company to begin operation in the early 2020s.[10]

On August 29, 2020, Straubel was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and revealed additional details:[33][34]

  • 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.
  • In July 2021, Redwood Materials had more than 130 employees.[35]
  • 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.

In June 2021, Redwood announced plans to expand its Carson City, Nevada facility to 550,000 square feet. Plans were also revealed to build another facility at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center and to recruit 500 more employees.[36]

In July 2021, Redwood raised $775 million from investors and venture firms. Investment management group T. Rowe Price Associates led a Series C round of funding that included Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Baillie Gifford, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity, Valor Equity Partners, Emerson Collective and Franklin Templeton. Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund, Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund also returned to invest additional capital.[35]


  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. ^ 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...{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ LaMonica, Martin. "Tesla Motors founders: Now there are five". CNET. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Tesla founders end bitter legal fight". Los Angeles Times. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2022-03-29.
  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. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 30 June 2020 – via YouTube.
  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". YouTube. 2015-07-15. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  15. ^ Hull, Dana; O'Kane, Sean (May 16, 2023). "Tesla Investors Elect Former Executive JB Straubel to Board". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on May 16, 2023.
  16. ^ "Crusader Connection Winter 2015". Edgewood High School Magazine. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  17. ^ Straubel, Boryana. "Human Resource Executive. July/August 2014". Instagram. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  18. ^ Terell Wilkins and Chelcey Adami (June 19, 2021). "UPDATE: Cyclist killed in crash on U.S. 395A ID'd as 38-year-old Washoe Valley resident". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  19. ^ Green, Penelope (2021-07-01). "Boryana Straubel, 38, Dies; Founded a 'Green' Jewelry Company". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2021-07-01. Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  20. ^ Bureau, Nevada Appeal Capitol. "Washoe Valley woman killed in cycling crash". www.nevadaappeal.com.
  21. ^ Hart, Joe (2021-09-21). "Ask Joe: Why no vehicular manslaughter charge in deadly Washoe Valley crash?". KRNV. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  22. ^ "New Tesla electric car: Unplug and play". Automotive News. 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  23. ^ "Straubel featured". Time4.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  24. ^ 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. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  25. ^ Kazak, Don (September 4, 2007). "Shultz to speak on energy panel at Stanford". Palo Alto Online.
  26. ^ Marsh, Ann (2009). "The Electric Company". Stanford Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  27. ^ "Stanford School of Engineering - EDAY08 schedule". Stanford University. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  28. ^ "Plug-In 2008 Conference Agenda". Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  29. ^ "2008 Young Innovators Under 35". Technology Review. 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  30. ^ Bullis, Kevin. "2008 Young Innovator: JB Straubel, 32". Technology Review.
  31. ^ TR Editors (September 24, 2008). "CNET Reports from EmTech08". Technology Review. {{cite magazine}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  32. ^ "DESIGN West Keynotes". UBM Electronics. Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  33. ^ Journal, Tim Higgins | Photographs by Max Whittaker for The Wall Street (2020-08-29). "One of the Brains Behind Tesla Found a New Way to Make Electric Cars Cheaper". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-08-29.
  34. ^ "Tesla co-founder JB Straubel opens up about the future of electric vehicle battery recycling". evannex.com. Retrieved 2020-08-29.
  35. ^ a b "Redwood Materials raises $700M to expand its battery recycling operation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  36. ^ "Former Tesla CTO's battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment". Energy Storage News. Retrieved 2021-07-30.

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