Tesla's longtime CTO JB Straubel leaves automaker

A founder of the company, Straubel will stick around in an advisory capacity.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
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JB Straubel is credited with leading Tesla's battery developments, as well as its Supercharger network and Gigafactory projects.

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Tesla's chief technology officer, JB Straubel, is leaving the company. Word of the longtime executive's departure comes amid reporting of the company's Q2 earnings Wednesday afternoon -- a $408 million loss that sent the electric auto manufacturer's stock tumbling in after-hours trading. Straubel has been a rare mainstay of Tesla's executive core, having been one of the company's founding architects and its CTO since 2005.

Straubel himself elected to leave the company. On the regularly scheduled analyst phone call that followed Wednesday's Q2 earnings report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Straubel will remain in a senior advisory role at the automaker, and Straubel himself said, "I'm not disappearing and I just want to make sure that people understand that this is not some lack of confidence in the company or the team."

According to Straubel's company bio, he is credited with launching "many Tesla initiatives," including the Supercharger network, Gigafactory and Tesla Energy grid storage business. In addition, Straubel is widely regarded as a linchpin in the development of the company's battery, motor and power electronics technology, three areas of expertise where Tesla's auto industry leadership remains largely unchallenged.

Straubel will be replaced in his role as CTO by Drew Baglino, previously a vice president of technology.

Straubel's exit is the newest in a line of executive departures that continues to rankle Wall Street analysts and the Tesla faithful. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Apple has hired away Steve MacManus from his role as a Tesla vice president with responsibilities in interior and exterior design. Apple has poached a number of key Tesla leaders over the last 12 months as it continues its own shadowy work on future car technologies.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

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