By John McDuling.
Ian Wright was one of the five original founders of Tesla Motors, so he knows a thing or two about electric vehicles.
In fact, according to this great account of the origins of Tesla, he was the third person to join the company in 2003, and along with original CEO Martin Eberhard, he directly pitched the idea of making electric cars to Elon Musk in his SpaceX office in Los Angeles. Wright left Tesla on good terms about a year after it was founded, but he has stayed in the electric-car game. A creation of his, named the X1, is the fastest “street legal” electric car in the world, he says.
However, these days, while Musk and Tesla’s ambition is to bring electric vehicles to the masses, Wright has a different vision. He wants to transform the market for the huge trucks that consume the most fuel and thus emit the most pollution.
His company, Wrightspeed, makes range extending, electric powertrains that can be used to make existing medium- and heavy-duty trucks more efficient in energy consumption, and thus greener. It has already won a deal from FedEx to use its technology in some delivery vehicles. Now it’s targeting gas guzzling, high-emissions garbage trucks. (It’s not alone in this space; a company called Motiv last year began supplying electric garbage trucks to the city of Chicago.) Obviously, this is a much smaller market than the consumers Tesla is going after, but Wright argues, still a lucrative one. Read More…