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Tesla CTO Confirms Breakthroughs on Electric Vehicles' Battery and Self-Driving Technology

By Adie Pieraz , May 31, 2016 05:40 AM EDT
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Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, JB Straubel, was a speaker at the recently concluded Transport Forum. He spoke about energy cars, improving existing batteries and autonomous driving.<br /> (Photo : Automobile Italia/ Flickr)

The recently concluded International Transport Forum held in Leipzig, Germany, had Tesla's Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, JB Straubel, as the Key Note speaker. He touched on a number of things that circled around electronic transport and the future of electric vehicles - mainly the innovations regarding batteries and the possibility of autonomous driving.

Battery-Powered Cars

As Clean Technica quotes, Straubel predicts that, eventually, "All ground vehicles are going to migrate towards electric." This may be true as a number of car companies now provide the option to choose between battery-powered cars and the more traditional gas-run vehicles. Arguably, there is great concern over the power of the batteries that run these vehicles. According to Straubel, however, this is not much to worry about.

"Much better batteries are possible," he confirmed. As he has seen the advances in chemistry and material science innovation, he knows the leaps and bounds made by performance improvements. Straubel boasts that there has been "more energy in the same volume of materials," which is in itself promising.

Autonomous Driving

Despite this, Straubel is more impressed with the advances in autonomous driving. He says that this portion of the industry is growing rapidly - so much so that improvements can be seen within months, not years. With the momentum companies are going, he says it is inevitable for all vehicles to one day adopt this technology. "The trends here are irreversible," Straub stated. As for the realistic possibility, he confirms that complete autonomy is achievable within a few years.

Straub briefly discussed his company's plans for trucks as well, as Electrek reported. While he admitted there is not much he can disclose on the new products and units they are developing, there is no reason to think the same technology cannot be applied to cars of a larger scale. He went on to point out that businesses are not too keen on the idea of electric trucks at this point because of the risks involved. However, as fuel prices increase, it is expected that businesses will again look into the option of electric transportation. 

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