Kurt Kelty (pictured), the battery engineer who envisioned the concept of taking a simple 18650 cell and transforming it into the heart of every Tesla battery pack, as well as dreaming up the concept of the ‘Gigafactory’, has left the company after eleven-and-a-half years.
In an e-mail to his friends and business contacts, Kelty wrote: “Our mission was to get us away from fossil fuels. We had a path: the Roadster, then moved on to Model S and ended with Model 3. Over the years, we have stayed true to our mission and on track with our roadmap (with the exception of the addition of Model X). Model 3 was always going to be the culmination of all our work – where we hit it out of the park and convinced the world that EVs were unbeatable. We are now at that point.”
Kelty worked for Panasonic in the early 1990s selling Japanese-made batteries to US customers. He says of the Nevada Gigafactory. “I look forward to seeing this factory continue to grow, driving down battery costs further to enable greater growth in EVs and stationary battery packs to enable further reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Kelty plans to take a hard-earned vacation before “figuring out where I can best contribute to minimising our environmental impact”.