Franz Von Holzhausen Brings A Clean Slate to Tesla Design Page 4

February 9, 2010

Even Franz admits that when it came time to actually design the 'S'.' there was a super-strong urge to make the ultimate designer impression - to really make a car for 'car' people, "our group, our community."

"But," von Holzhausen says, "the responsibility to the brand and to the consumer was to create a car that was attractive for everybody."

Which goes right back to a very telling statement he'd made a moment earlier. "Our goal is to get this awesome piece of technology into EVERYONE'S hands - to open the door to allow everyone to get their addiction off of fossil fuel."

Applying that ideology to the car's design direction, he continues, "It didn't need to be ├╝ber avant garde or set new design trends. It needed to be simply attractive."

He then explained, they began by working really hard to create some basic sound principles they could continue to pull the next product offering out of. That included creating a face for the brand that's recognizable, and making sure that face wasn't overly masculine or overly feminine - a gender neutral face.

Hence the S we see today.

Franz also talked about their desire to offer surprise and delights. As he explains, "Where the unexpected element of the car is the usability of it. Where you get a beautiful looking product, but then you open up the doors and realize how functional it is, and how much it makes sense. So many good looking products don't do that."

Falling into that functionality category are a list of those surprise and delights, many of which are a result of the Model S' all-new basic architecture.

He mentions that first off, there's no need for a big engine compartment up front, so that area is devoted to storage space. No driveshaft down the center of the car means extra space for passengers, especially those sitting in the second-row middle seat. Unlike in the Roadster, the batteries will be arranged in packs that will sit low and flat in the chassis, and the compact electric motor will tuck behind and just below the second row of seats, together freeing up the rear trunk area for a third row of rear-facing kid-sized jump seats. Why not, since you have all that storage space up front? And if you do need more trunk space, the jump seats fold down.

Then there's that laptop-size 17" nav screen front and center on the Model S dash, the modularity of the components throughout. The list of delights continued.

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