Tesla Motors: The Beginning


Source: Tesla Rumors.com

An energy engineer by the name of JB Straubel had an interest in electric vehicles too, and while in college had designed a Hybrid Trailer System. Earlier, at the age of 14, he discovered a junked electric golf cart in a Wisconsin junkyard and decided to rebuild it, sparking his interest for energy technology and electric vehicles. He acquired a B.S. in Energy Systems Engineering and an M.S. in Energy Engineering with an emphasis on energy conversion from Stanford University. After college, he went to work for Rosen Motors as a propulsion engineer.

Rosen Motors was founded in 1990 by Harold Rosen, an electrical engineer, and his brother, Benjamin Rosen. They developed a gas turbine powered hybrid powertrain with an energy storage subsystem that even used regenerative braking. Later Harold Rosen and JB Straub together founded Volacom, an aerospace firm that designed a high-altitude aircraft that used hybrid electric propulsion invented by Straub. In 2000 Straubel had converted a Porsche 944 to an electric vehicle and held a 1/4 mile word record at 17.28 seconds at 79.4 mph.

During their lunch meeting, Straubel mentioned a company called AC propulsion that had developed a prototype electric sports car using a gasoline-powered kit car. Instead, it used lithium-ion batteries and had a range of 250 miles. It also offered lots of torque and could go 0-60 in under 4 seconds.

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Source: Electrifying Times