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Speaker Profile

Kurt Kelty
Director, Power Storage Technologies, Telsa Motors


As Director of Energy Storage Technologies at Tesla Motors, Kurt manages the battery cell and pack advanced development group. This team is responsible for setting and implementing Teslaís battery usage strategy as well as the module and pack engineering strategy. His group is particularly focused on developing modules and battery packs that are economical, but also have high performance and safety.

Mr. Kelty is responsible for the technical exchanges and negotiations with each of the battery suppliers. He also leads the battery pack recycling and regulatory efforts at Tesla. He is a member of SAE Hybrid J2464 Task Force concerning Electric Vehicle Battery Abuse Testing and IEC/TC21/JWG69-Li Committee to form performance and abuse standards for vehicle battery packs. As Tesla grows the battery pack and powertrain business, Mr. Kelty is also responsible for relations with external non-Tesla customers of the battery pack.

Before joining Tesla, Mr. Kelty worked for Matsushita (Panasonic) for nearly fifteen years, seven of those years in Japan. At Panasonic, Mr. Kelty worked in various planning and marketing capacities related to Ni-MH and Li-ion batteries. During the last 5 years, he founded and led Panasonicís R&D lab in Silicon Valley and created R&D alliances between Panasonic and other battery and fuel cell developers in the U.S

Mr. Kelty received his B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College in 1986 and his MSc from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1997.


The battery pack of the Tesla Roadster electric vehicle is one of the largest and technically most advanced Li-ion battery packs in the world. It is capable of delivering enough power to accelerate the Tesla Roadster from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. The battery stores enough energy for the vehicle to travel more than 240 miles (based on EPA city/highway cycle), something no production electric vehicle in history can claim.

Designed to use commodity, 18650 form-factor, Li-ion cells, the Tesla battery architecture draws on the progress made in Li-ion batteries over the past 15 years. Under the market pull of consumer electronics products, energy and power densities have increased while cost has dropped making Li-ion the choice for an electric vehicle. In the past, to achieve such tremendous range for an electric vehicle it would need to carry more than a thousand kilograms of nickel metal hydride batteries. Physically large and heavy, such a car could never achieve the acceleration and handling performance that the Tesla Roadster has achieved.

Due to their high energy density, Li-ion batteries have become the technology of choice for laptops, cell phones, and many other portable applications. Precisely because they have all this energy stored in a small space, Li-ion batteries can be dangerous if not handled properly. In fact, there have been several cases of Li-ion batteries going into thermal runaway in laptop applications leading to recalls by Dell, Apple, IBM, and other manufacturers. The power and energy capabilities of the pack make it essential that safety be considered a primary criterion in the packís design and architecture.

This talk will focus on the approach Tesla used to design and implement a safe, high performance battery pack for the Roadster.




6 /6/2006 - Dr. Nicky Lu, Founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of Etron Technology - Spring Series " Entrepreneurship in Asian High-Tech Industries"

5/31/2005 - Panel with Professor C.K. Prahalad, University of Michigan & Mr. Jonathan Barker, Managing Principal, Center Street Advisors- Spring Series "Entrepreneurship in Asian High-Tech Industries"

5/24/2005 - Panel on Online Auctions, eBay-China, eBay-India & Yahoo! Japan - Spring Series "Entrepreneurship in Asian High-Tech Industries"

10/21/04 - Mr. Hajime Sasaki, Chairman, NEC Corp.- Fall Series "Cross-border partnering in Asia: Globalization challenges for high-tech industries"

10/07/04 - Mr. Min Zhu, President, WebEx - Fall Series "Cross-border partnering in Asia: Globalization challenges for high-tech industries"

12/4/2003 - Dr. Morris Chang, Chairman, TSMC - Fall Series "Doing Business with your Technology in Asia"

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