Much of Diarmuid O’Connell’s preparation for his job as vice president of one of the country’s hottest electric car companies came from his time in the Bush State Department. “I developed a very poignant realization,” explained O’Connell to Vanity Fair- discussing his days working on policy and support for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan-, “energy security is all about oil, and if it’s all about oil, you better be doing something about transportation.”
O’Connell left Washington for Tesla (in Silicon Valley) in 2006 eager to use his experience to lobby for federal aid for the startup automaker. In June of 2009, his work paid off when Tesla secured $465 million in low-interest government loans. Most of the money- $365 million- will go toward “production engineering and assembly” of its electric sedan, the Model S, due out in 2011.
In May of 2009, Daimler bought 10% of Tesla for about $50 million and O’Connell recognized the significance of the purchase. “Daimler invented the internal combustion engine. To partner with them is the greatest endorsement you can have in this business.”
In this video, O’Connell talks about the loan and those rumors, the deal with Daimler, and when most of us should expect to be plugging in our cars.