Straubel is on the forefront of electric vehicle development. Tesla founder Elon Musk in 2003 hired Straubel, 34, to help develop technology for Tesla's Roadster, the first limited-production high-performance electric sports car that accelerates from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds. Since then, the Roadster has sold out, Tesla has gone public, and the company is moving full steam ahead on developing the 2012 Model S, a four-door family sedan with a base price of $49,900 after a tax credit. "One of the most interesting dilemmas we'll face is the transition from a fossil-fuel-based system to a renewable-energy-based system," he says. "It's exciting to be at this tipping point, to explore solutions and map out a new transportation infrastructure." --J.P.M.
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Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET