Tesla Chief Designer Noted Among 2018’s Most Creative People

Tesla Model 3 interview


A top dog at Tesla gets attention outside of the automotive world and it’s not Elon Musk.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen is beginning to be in the limelight more and more these days and the attention he’s receiving is well-deserved. Yes, Franz has always been around for events, debuts, interview, etc., but lately, he’s taken his turn up on stage, led some of the festivities, and even spoke publicly on several occasions.

With the release of the hugely popular Tesla Model 3, followed by word of a second-generation Tesla Roadster, Franz von Holzhausen has activated more people’s radar outside of the Tesla community and EV space. In fact, Fast Company just chose him as one of 2018’s most creative people in business. The publication writes:

The 100 visionary leaders you’ll read about here hail from a wide range of fields. Each person has accomplished something truly novel over the past year that is having an impact on an entire industry.

What’s more, every one of the 100 people on the list is brand new to Fast Company. They’ve never been in the magazine previously. This is because the list has nothing to do with overall power or lifetime achievements. These people were picked because they are creating an impact right now, not only on their immediate industries but also on a global level, and oftentimes even on unrelated fields. Fast Company adds this pertaining to these 100 winners:

Each has succeeded in moving his or her entire sector forward in a completely new way during the past year, and these accomplishments are already having an effect on their industries, if not the world.


It’s about unique ideas that are having a meaningful impact–right now–which makes it unlike any other list you’ll see in media.

Even more interesting is the fact that the top five on this list are the students that created March for Our Lives, which is a student-run organization that has taken the gun control issue to Wall Street. Franz falls in the number six spot overall, which is quite impressive. Fast Company concludes:

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.

Source: Fast Company

Categories: Tesla


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11 Comments on "Tesla Chief Designer Noted Among 2018’s Most Creative People"

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Well this is bound to be controversial. There are plenty of people out there who don’t think much of Tesla’s design. Personally I think the TM3 is alright, and the Roadster is pretty good looking, but neither really breaks new ground or turns heads like the things coming from Volvo. As far as the rest are concerned, the TMX is an egg and the TMS is mostly cribbed from the blander bits of Jaguars and went way downhill with the “facelift”. The Semi could easily be described as being a disaster if it weren’t so boring looking. Teslas aren’t offensive in any way, but the only reason I get happy to see one is because I’m a fan of EVs and they’re not super common. I just think there are people more deserving of an award like this. I’ll give Holzhausen this though, with the exception of the Semi (if he even had a hand in that) he seems to be improving with every model!

May the hatred and downvotes begin 😉

Troll on ‼️

Engineering a car is not just the lines of the fenders. It is ground up design, from the power train to the sparse instrumentation to the low CD. The Tesla breaks ground on many fronts having little to do with the looks.

That’s right, and von Holzhausen is not an engineer.

Tesla styles press their packaging advantage in a way that creates a unique look totally consistent with the ground breaking engineering and ownership experience. That said I consider the look more functional than beautiful which is just right for me.

The Roadster II is sleek AF, and the CD on all Teslas is incredibly low, but I’ve always wondered what the Perfect Aerodynamic Car would look like; that is, the absolute lowest CD possible, given a decent ergonomic seating position as the parameter. (I mean, you could get even more aero if the driver laid on his back and drove with VR goggles and camera input…) There’s artificial evolution software that could “evolve” the perfect aerodynamic design, and I’d love to see how close Tesla came.

I can recall a design studio ran this experiment around 1977. The most optimally aerodynamic shape for a passenger car looked mostly like a banana, including a curve that was high in the middle. Or, try to imagine an airplane fuselage that has wilted at both ends. Not space efficient, and not pretty.

Congratulations on this award.

There’s a warning I heard long ago that if you’re unsure about a color to choose for a vehicle, the color isn’t the problem. Tesla is an amazing company and is doing in the automobile industry what all the rest need to do, produce zero emissions products. The Tesla design doesn’t impress me much mainly because they still resemble low headroom Mazdas. Designing long, low, wide vehicles rarely impressed me especially having to try to park them or park next to them. The door designs seem to get the strangest executed departures from tradition. The Model S’s expensive door handles. The Model X’s ‘solution looking for a problem’ falcon wing doors. The Model 3’s door handles though different they a least have fewer parts to wear out. And all vehicles with frameless windows which even if it makes them seem more upscale introduces more long term problems like wind noise, weather ingress and a no touch handling. The Semi Truck prototype doors open opposite to 99% of other vehicles in the world but it was a prototype.

Although I think Tesla’s designs are derivative of Porsche, their designs have most certainly been a huge part of Tesla’s success. The M3 is the first Tesla I am all in on, I was not a big fan of MS front ends, and I am not a fan of the MX design. One of the things Tesla has going for it is the total lack of competition in design for BEVs. Who made the rule that EVs have to be ugly boxy creations? GM can make Corvettes, so they know what to do, they just decline to do it.

Frankly the best competition for Tesla in design is.. well, Porsche itself. But whereas Porsche went all in on the Mission E, anyone with a Tesla knows its too bad, to late. Porsche does not have the resources to create a supercharger network and would be far behind Tesla even if they did.

Porsche is part of the VW Group and definitely has the resources to expand the 350kW CCS network. The question is how soon will it happen.