by Eric Cohen
As WiTricity continues to expand to meet the excitement of – and growing demand for – wireless EV charging, I was eager to talk with our new Senior Vice President of Engineering, David Trabulsi. David brings more than 25 years of Tier 1 automotive and consumer electronics experience, with extensive global leadership across all phases of product design and development. But I wanted to learn more about David – beyond his career experience.
Eric: Welcome to WiTricity! Let’s start by learning more about your background and experience.
David: Prior to joining WiTricity, I was Chief Product Development and Supply Chain Officer for 4Moms. Prior to 4Moms, I had a long career at Bose Corporation, which included Director of various divisions, including Advanced R&D Technology, Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain Engineering, Application Engineering, and others – both in the United States and Japan. I’ve led international, cross functional engineering organizations across automotive and consumer products, and have been fortunate to work on some amazing products and technologies. My career began at General Motors, where I worked in an advanced body structures group focused on design, analysis, and testing of new and novel vehicle body structure architectures.
Eric: You have the perfect experience to help lead WiTricity as we bring wireless charging to market. Beyond your professional experience, our audience loves to know more about “David, the person.” Can you fill us in?
David: I’m married to an amazing writer (who will have her first book published early next year) and have three children – two sons and a daughter. My two oldest children were born when we lived in Japan and I was focused on Japanese automotive customers. This was the first of two times we were living in Japan. It is an amazing country and we loved being totally immersed in the culture and language. I particularly liked seeing the joy and delight on people’s faces when they learned we could speak to them in their language. This ability afforded us the opportunity to see parts of the country that many foreigners don’t get to experience.
Eric: Speaking of immersed, you seem to have been immersed in the auto industry your entire life. Have you always had an interest in cars?
David: I studied mechanical engineering and cars are the embodiment of the collection of subjects that we studied. I’ve always had an affinity for cars so when I graduated from college, I went to Detroit and started my long automotive career – first with GM, then with Bose, and now with WiTricity. Most people don’t think of Bose as an “automotive” company but during my 17 years there, we became experts in how to work with, and deliver to, automotive companies the best sound systems imaginable. It wasn’t just about the performance of our products, but how to be a world-class supplier to automotive companies. Someone OEMs came to trust. We evolved from focusing on superior audio quality to adding additional features and value using advanced signal processing and the audio system components to improve hands-free telephone service, enhancing in-car conversations, and masking road and engine noise. We developed technology that enabled car manufacturers to remove sound deadening materials, resulting in less weight and less cost for each vehicle.
Eric: Sounds like a natural progression. So, what brought you to WiTricity?
David: The intellectual property, technology, people, and culture. I was amazed by the research and technology that led WiTricity to where it is today and the opportunity and value that exist for the future. As we spoke about progression, I quickly realized that wireless charging is a natural progression of technology evolution. Everything that can be wireless will be wireless. And the opportunity to deliver technology into mass production at scale parallels what I did during my 20 years at Bose. I’m excited to have the chance to do this again. The ability to use my experience to do something that’s meaningful beyond the business endeavor gives me purpose and meaning.
Eric: Customers put their faith (and dollars) in companies that have bench strength in all areas. Tell me how you add to the team already in place.
David: I represent a level of capability that can bring technology to mass production. WiTricity was once a cool MIT research project. Now it’s real and ready to be made available to the public. My background and experience symbolize the maturity of our wireless charging technology and system, and its viability in the market. It’s also a signal to the industry that we have a path to development and delivery to mass-produced electric vehicles.
Eric: Since you’ve brought new technology to the automotive industry throughout your career, what do you think will get OEMs and Tier 1 providers interested in wireless charging?
David: Customer value and maturity. It’s important to understand that new technology represents complexity to an OEM, which is why it’s so important that we continue educating and sharing where we are in the development process. To integrate new technology, OEMs need to be confident in the technology and it must be mature and ready for market. It’s also important that we stay focused on value – what we can provide their customers to enable the OEM to get a competitive advantage. If OEMs see a technology they can implement that their competitors don’t have, it becomes very meaningful; it allows them to win on multiple levels.
Eric: What about consumers? What will get them interested in wireless charging?
David: Consumers are already interested in wireless everything. It represents an ease of use and is present in families of products they use everyday. They’ve seen it, lived it, and know that everything evolves to wireless. From the remote control that used to have a wire to the old ethernet cord to the wall phone. It only makes sense that cars are next. Why have plugs and cords that are dirty, dangerous, time consuming, and ugly? A seamless experience is what consumers desire. . Along with an experience they don’t even have to think about. Drive, park, and charge. Let the device do the work for you so you can do something else. That’s why I’m excited to be at WiTricity.