Tesla Co-founder’s Wrightspeed Raises $5 Million Series A Round

Wrightspeed, a maker of fuel efficient, electric drive systems, has raised a $5 million Series A round from an unnamed private investor. According to the company’s press release, co-founder and EVP of Infinera, David Welch, will also join the company’s board.

The company’s founder and CEO is Ian Wright, one of the co-founders of Tesla. Although Wright was an important figure in Tesla’s early days, he left long before the IPO to found Wrightspeed. Wrightspeed doesn’t want to be the next electric automaker, instead, the company wants to build the best hybrid electric drive systems for high-performance cars and medium to large-sized trucks.

In other words, the company has no use for the minivan market— at least not today— its equipment is designed for extreme race cars or hefty, long haul trucks, racking up hundreds of miles per day. The goal, according to Wright, is to sell “technology [that] will displace at least 3,000 gallons of fuel per year per high usage vehicle.”

The San Jose-based company’s marquee product is the Wrightspeed Digital DriveSystem (DDS). The platform, according to the company’s website, includes “the battery system, electric motors and drive electronics, generator control system, vehicle dynamics control, user interface and the software control plane.” The DDS’s electric motors can reach 250 hp and are  built to be lightweight at roughly 40 pounds. In order to enhance flexibility, the system also uses motors modularly, so it can conform to what a vehicle needs.

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