[Interview] How Did Tesla Develop EV Battery? (page 3)

Dec 20, 2010
Naoshige Shimizu & Kouji Kariatsumari, Nikkei Electronics

Q: Finally, I would like to ask you a personal question. Why did you join Tesla?

Kelty: I was engaged in research at a Japan-based battery maker. At first, I was researching nickel-metal-hydride batteries and had been engaged in the development of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries for more than 10 years since about 1993.

At that time, many battery engineers used to say that it was difficult to mount lithium-ion batteries on vehicles from the perspectives of safety and reliability. But I did not think so. Then, I got to know a venture company that was trying to make an EV by using lithium-ion batteries. That was Tesla.

When I was talking with JB Straubel, one of Tesla's founders, I realized that he was seriously trying to develop EVs and he had excellent ideas. I thought I might be able to develop an EV using lithium-ion batteries at this company. It was about 2006, but, at that time, I did not think that Tesla will become a company that can attract this much attention.