Tesla Co-Founder talks trucks, electric vehicle battery advances, and downplays hydrogen fuel cells [Video]
We reported on Tesla co-founder and chief technical officer JB Straubel who recently gave a keynote speech at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany. It turns out that Straubel was also invited to speak on a separate "Transport Innovation Talks" panel. We have a new video of Straubel's highlights during the panel. He covered a wide range of topics including possibilities for a Tesla truck, electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and why EVs were superior to hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology.
According to Electrek*, Straubel discussed the possibilities for Tesla trucks, "I can’t say too much about the new products and the things we are developing, but from a pure technology point of view, everything that we’ve done on vehicles translates directly into trucks. There’s no reason that today you can’t make a very compelling electric truck. They can charge at [the] same sort of times as a Model S – as one of our passenger vehicles – and have the same economy of operation."
Above: Tesla Co-Founder JB Straubel's speech and highlights from the International Transport Forum's "Transport Innovation Talks" panel (Source: IntTransportForum)
He also showed enthusiasm about the potential for battery improvements that should come from: "energy storage research; chemistry research, material science to make better batteries, and improve materials and reduce the cost. There’s a lot of room to improve there. It’s nowhere near the fundamental ceiling or physics limits yet. It’s an exciting and vibrant area.
In addition, Straubel downplayed the hype around hydrogen fuel cells noting: "I am not a fan of hydrogen. I do not see a future for hydrogen as a transportation fuel... What you need to look at is the efficiency of going from primary energy to consumed energy, and hydrogen vehicles use roughly three times more than an electric vehicle. That’s fundamentally a tough limit. If all the other economic issues can be sorted out, you end up in a place that’s going three times more per mile to drive and has a three times more [of an] environmental footprint."
It was fascinating to see Straubel answering these unusual (and sometimes challenging) questions on this panel. As Straubel hits the speaking circuit more in the coming months, we'll be sure to keep you updated on his comments.