Meet the Minds That Will Make Tesla’s Battery Day Promises Come True

George Paul September 23, 2020
Elon Musk speaking on stage at Tesla's Battery Day
Image Credit: Tesla

Elon Musk shared his vision of Tesla’s future with the world at the company’s Battery Day event. At the outdoor presentation, he laid out new goals and technology that will enable the company to remain competitive and play a significant role in the development of sustainable-energy generation, storage, and electric vehicles.

The three largest announcements to come out of Battery Day were:

  • The company wants to create an $25,000 Tesla model that will be capable of driving fully autonomously. Musk said he was “confident” that the company can make the vehicle in “about three years.”
  • Tesla will build a new cathode plant for its batteries in North America. This plant could lead to a 76% reduction in cathode processing costs and significantly reduce the price of its batteries. The new factory likely be located close to the company’s Nevada production facility as the company’s SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Drew Baglino, stated that there is enough lithium in Nevada alone to “electrify the entire US fleet."
  • Tesla plans to eliminate the use of cobalt in its cathodes. The company already uses a minimal amount of cobalt but plans to completly remove the material as it is expensive and can often come from unscrupulous sources.

Now that Musk has laid out his ambitious goals, here is the team behind the scenes that will bring these dreams to fruition.

Tesla's org chart on The Org

Vineet Mehta is the company’s Director of Battery Technology & Powertrain Architecture/Modeling. Mehta will aid Musk's vision to improve battery life and power, a crucial task to convince traditional vehicle owners to switch to an electric vehicle as range anxiety is a common concern. Mehta has already been crucial in developing the companies tabless batteries, a breakthrough battery contruction that will improve vehicle range and power.

Annie Liu is the architect behind Tesla's battery and energy supply chain. As the Head of Supply Chain, Battery and Energy, she will play a large part Musk’s plan to rid its batteries of cobalt.

As the company looks to bring a $25,000 autonomous car to market in three years it will be up to two leading execs, Andrej Karpathy and Pete Bannon. Karpathy initially joined Telsa in 2017 as its Director of Artificial Intelligence and Autopilot Vision. In January 2019 Karpathy was promoted to Senior Director, where he leads the team developing the machine learning system used in Autopilot. Together with Bannon, the Director of Autopilot Hardware who took over from legendary chip architect Jim Keller, the two execs will attempt to create a low-cost and high-performance self-driving system.

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