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Tesla’s Franz von Holzhausen: Mass Market ‘Model E’ scheduled to be shown at Jan. 2015 Detroit Auto Show, BMW’s i3 design is ‘strange, Ikea-like’

Franz von Holzhausen

AutoBild (German) has a great interview with Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen on a variety of subjects.  The Connecticut-born (obv. from the name) designer who previously designed the Pontiac solstice and the Mazda Kabura concept car waxed on some new subject matter including the scheduled unveiling of the ‘Model E’ mass market electric car planned for the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and his views on BMW’s FUGLY i3 external design. Roughly (read: Google) Translated:

On Tesla being as popular as the Prius:

Well, we have not yet reached the Prius level where a model already gets on my nerves, because you see it so often. Since we are in Tesla do not advertise, it’s good if more Model S to hit the road. Only in this way potential customers come in contact with the car.

Does he still feel good about the design of the Model S?

As a designer’s work is never really finished. Our objective is always to the nearest mm to the nuance. But at some point we have to work so declared terminated and present the car. I see today are still small areas, for example at the snout of the car, which I would like to lend a hand. But these are trifles. On the whole, it is complete. The Model S should be aerodynamic, without looking for it. And we succeeded.

What is he currently working on?

The Model X is almost ready, now it comes to the last aerodynamic subtleties. Therefore, millimeter by millimeter to change without anyone noticing that we have ever changed anything. And we are working hard on the “3rd Gen”, the third generation platform.

The model leads Tesla to a new level. The car will show what we are about: to build electric cars for the masses. It is not a small model S, we do not want a unit face like Audi . But we have to our customers only times give an optical security before we make crazy style. As it has with the BMW i3 been easier.

Interesting. So the Model E, as many people outside of Tesla are calling it could be the same size as the Model S. Does he like the BMW i3? Of course he does not:

From the brand perspective, I consider whether the i3 is the myth of the “Ultimate Driving Machine”, as they say here in America, or “driving pleasure” with you, just. The i3 is more an IKEA piece of furniture as a design piece of furniture. I’m not sure if the i3 meets the basic standards of the brand.From pure design perspective, the car is of course unique. The interior is very modern. Very clean, thin seats. I like the material used. If the i3 is on the road, he looks a bit strange and unconventional. I personally feel that car must not look so funky. The electric drive train and the proportions are unique enough. You have not that make a great statement with it.

Pick up truck? Smart like City Car?  Later and not base don the Gen 3 platform.

There is a niche product that will only show what Tesla is capable of. The focus is clearly on the mass model. And what about the pick-up truck? The truck is not built on the 3rd-gen platform, which gets its own platform. Comes from Tesla sometime sometimes an electric city car á la E-Smart? Such a car would certainly make sense, but only later.

What has changed since Tesla blew up?

Today we are around 100 people in the design team. But we still have this startup atmosphere in the store. The pace is insanely high, we are bringing in a position to very fast cars on the market. Some car designers work at night, others with loud music.

When will we first see the Mass market auto?

Probably at the show in Detroit beginning in 2015. The fires do not affect my work. Our aim is to create a safe car. Nothing is changed.

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  1. Pat - 9 years ago

    Was this translated into German and back for some reason? Most of the English in his replies makes no sense.

  2. Mike Gombatz - 9 years ago

    Attractive car, compelling to buy. Please consider adding features like adaptive cruise control, heads up display, lane assist, blind side monitor and other features comparable to other 100k plus cars. My Lexus hybrid has these. Also waiting for more charging stations. Thanks for asking. Mike


Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting