Quoted: on Tesla co-founder’s different vision about electric vehicles

“What Tesla has achieved in terms of changing people’s perceptions about electric cars, from golf carts to vehicles that compete with Mercedes and Porsche, is beyond my wildest dreams. That said, we’re going after high polluters, and in that sense our economic proposition could allow us to scale bigger than Tesla.”

Ian Wright, a Tesla co-founder, on his startup, Wrightspeed. The powertrain maker has electrified garbage trucks, FedEx trucks and other commercial vehicles. “It makes the most economic sense to focus energies on a sector where you can displace the most fuel,” Wright told USA Today.

Wrightspeed, based in San Jose, is moving to a bigger space in Alameda in anticipation of its growth, especially in light of California Air Resources Board standards that will require commercial truck owners to make changes. Wrightspeed expects to create 280 new jobs in the Bay Area by 2018, according to a press release by the city of Alameda today.

In an interview in electric-vehicle magazine Charged last year, Wright talked about how he came to have a different vision from Tesla, which he left after one year: “I’ve learned a lot from watching Tesla’s trials and tribulations from afar, and it was pretty clear that trying to build cars and car factories wasn’t as easy as we thought it was going to be,” Wright said. “If you concentrate your effort on the powertrain only, then you can figure out a way to get the powertrain to market without having to build car factories and build cars.”


Above: Screen grab from Wrightspeed video


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  • Paul Scott

    I applaud Ian Wright’s vision and appreciate that he understands the need to electrify heavier equipment. It may not be as sexy, but it’s extremely helpful to the fight over climate change. Heavy equipment uses lots of oil and produces huge amounts of criteria and climate change pollutants. Plus they make a lot of noise. I want to live in a cleaner, safer, quieter world. Wrightspeed will help us get there.

    • Martin Winlow