I attended the Silicon Valley Automotive Open Source meetup: Bringing New Technology to Market, Tesla Motors’ Sourcing Strategy hosted at Mentor Graphics in Fremont tonight. The presentation was given by Milo Werner of Tesla. She talked a lot about Tesla’s earlier years when the young company outsourced several aspects from body design to PEMs (power electronic modules). Some of this I knew, but what surprised me the most was that Tesla outsourced their battery manufacturing to a BBQ manufacturer in Thailand (minute 15 in vid below). Sounds pretty random until Milo started explaining the reasoning. She said major battery manufacturers were hesitant to partner with Tesla for their own PR protection. AKA, if Tesla built a car that blew up, no one wanted their name on the battery and the bad press that would likely follow such a disaster.
The presentation didn’t seem to contain any secret sauce-like content, but the meetup was worthwhile as I always meet interesting people through this group and hot dinner was served!
In case you’re interested: video of a similar presentation by Milo below: