During the Gigaom Roadmap 2013 conference, Franz von Holzhausen, Chief Designer at Tesla Motors sat down for a (rather lengthy) interview with Katie Fehrenbacher and talked about what drew him to Tesla to design the Model S in house, at a time when the future of Tesla Motors was anything but assured.

Mr. von Holzhausen notes (amongst other reasons) the design freedom to work from scratch on the Model S was a great opportunity to do something special...and that Tesla was focused exclusively on electric cars, while other companies were seeing EVs as R & D projects, and just for marketing purposes.

"The automotive world needed a change and Tesla was moving towards a more green, stable environment. I’d never be able to achieve that at Mazda, GM or VW so I took the plunge."

"Not A MiniVan" Model X Deliveries Set For Limited Deliveries Late In 2014

Mr. von Holzhausen also was the lead on the Model X, and the user interface inside both of those vehicles.  On the vision for the Model X, the Tesla designer says:

"Nobody really wants to own a minivan. It’s just because you have to.  Sorry if I’m offending but it’s probably true. From a functional perspective, if you just can’t knuckle down and own a minivan, you move to an SUV or a crossover, which arguably aren’t as functional. Model X is really looking at, how do you provide the functionality of a minivan, but make it attractive and desirable, something similar to what an SUV has in terms of desire."

Gigaom