Third-year polymer science and computer engineering student spends 11 months working at Tesla

Chase Breting

After just two months as an intern at Tesla, Chase Breting requested an extension of his co-op placement, realizing the experience was “once in a lifetime” and he wanted more time. 

The third year polymer science and computer engineering student started his co-op in early January of 2022, moving to Fremont, California, to work as an electrode engineering intern at the Kato facility, Tesla’s primary facility for 4680 battery cell production. Breting works closely with his manager, a senior staff engineer who received his PhD in polymer science from the University of Akron, on a team that is focused on using “novel technology” to maximize the in-house production of 4680 cells, ultimately decreasing battery costs and meeting the high demand for fully electric vehicles. 

“Having a mentor who graduated with the same major from an Ohio university and has over a decade of industry experience is very beneficial,” he shared.

Recently, Breting had the opportunity to present to Tesla’s director of cell manufacturing engineering and over 50 other cell engineers, sharing details about the project he’s been focused on, which he said was “extremely rewarding.” 

In addition to his main project, Breting has immersed himself in the Tesla experience—visiting the Fremont Factory, which produces Models S, 3, X, and Y for North America, and the Texas Gigafactory in Austin, TX, which will soon build all vehicle models, including Cybertruck and Semi. In Texas, he even witnessed a crash test. 

Working Monday through Friday, Breting typically takes the weekends to “hike and enjoy the outdoors in the gorgeous bay weather” in his temporary, new home. Since his move he’s visited Yosemite Valley, Big Sur, Big Basin, Mount Diablo, Mission Peak, and many places along the coastline. When he’s not visiting new places, he works a few extra hours on the weekends delivering new Teslas from the factory showrooms to customers. 

“I have delivered dozens of Teslas so far and have driven every type of model,” he said. “It’s hard to go back to driving a gas-powered car after driving an electric one!”

Dec. 9 will mark the end of this co-op for Breting, but he hopes it’s not the end of his time with Tesla. When he returns to campus, he plans to assist with internship recruiting and improving relations between the company and CWRU. Longterm, he hopes to add “Full-Time Engineer at Tesla” to his resume. 

“This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Breting shared. “I am extraordinarily grateful for this opportunity. CWRU has set me up for great success and I’ve gained high-level battery cell knowledge, a vast network of colleagues and resources, and many new practical skills that I am eager to use in  my studies and career.”