The Excitement of Starting Companies | Jim Castelez
About Jim Castelez
Jim Castelez is the founder and CEO of Motiv Power Systems; a company that works to retrofits diesel trucks into electric vehicles. Before he founded Motiv Power Systems, Jim worked as Chief Architect at an EV start-up focused on designing electric buses. Jim received a BS in Engineering and Economics from Harvey Mudd College and an MSEE from Stanford University.
It’s difficult to bring a new product into a new market. One of my favorite moments was when we were bringing our very first demonstration vehicle to our very first trade show. And we kind of had the date set and it was fast approaching and this demonstration vehicle still wasn’t operating. It was a pretty novel shuttle bus in the way that it used multiple battery technologies on one vehicle. At one time no one had ever done this. The longest I slept was like in a corner covered by some blankets that our painters had discarded as they were doing the final vinyl wrap on the vehicle over that time period, we were just tweaking things trying to get the vehicle to work and to work optimally. And one by one our team just like fell off from exhaustion. And it was just me and one power electronics engineer. And he’s kind of passed out in the vehicle. And we’re, you know, hacking away trying to figure out like, what was this happening in the software that was preventing our vehicle from driving and the tow truck was there to take our vehicle to the show, which was in Indianapolis, and he had postponed as long as he could, he was going to deadhead drive straight there from California. And he said, Okay, we gotta go there, they hook up the shuttle, and they winch it onto the flatbed truck, and I’m still inside of their code. Some of my team has to test to come in and pull me out of the vehicle so that the guy can finally drive away. And then I you know, I get on the phone with our software engineer, and we have like, 12 hours until our flights and we’re still hacking away. We think we fix it, we get to the show, we load on the new code. And lo and behold, it actually runs. We had never charged the vehicle before though. So my poor power electronics engineer who was with me through the end volunteers to sleep in the vehicle overnight, just to make sure that it could charge correctly at this show. So it could be already but it actually all went very well and the ride and drive was successful. We were able to demonstrate the technology and I mean, we’ve come a long way since then. But that story is always going to be I think part of you know, just an example like the excitement of starting a company.
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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.
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