No. 6: Tesla’s model de­signer

Franz von Holzhausen Chief de­signer, Tesla

Fast Company - - Contents -

Franz von Holzhausen matches stylish min­i­mal­ism with eye-pop­ping de­tails.

When Franz von Holzhausen joined Tesla in 2008, the elec­tric-car startup was so in­ex­pe­ri­enced at ve­hi­cle de­sign that it had to out­source most of the work on its orig­i­nal Road­ster to the sports-car man­u­fac­turer Lo­tus. To­day, its grow­ing prod­uct lineup re­flects the stylish min­i­mal­ism of von Holzhausen, a vet­eran of GM, Mazda, and Volk­swa­gen. For the Model 3 sedan, which ar­rived in 2017 with a start­ing price of $35,000, the de­signer helped fig­ure out how to bring the price down (there’s only one dash­board screen and no self-ex­tend­ing door han­dles) while still de­liv­er­ing the car­maker’s sig­na­ture un­der­stated, aero­dy­namic look. For Tesla’s lat­est Road­ster, due in 2020 and priced at $200,000, von Holzhausen ditched the opaque roof of the 2008 model for a light­weight, re­mov­able glass one that can be stored in the trunk. The Road­ster gave the de­signer a chance to build the un­com­pro­mis­ing elec­tri­fied hot rod Tesla wasn’t ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing a decade ago, and fans are al­ready drool­ing for it. “We want to show that an elec­tric ve­hi­cle can be bet­ter than any­thing,” he says. “Not just bet­ter than a nor­mal road car, but bet­ter than any su­per­car.”

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