Tesla’s love for car design by Franz Von Holzhausen
Tesla Introduces Self-Driving Features With Software Upgrade
A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. will begin rolling out the first version of its highly anticipated "autopilot" features to owners of its all-electric Model S sedan Thursday. Autopilot is a step toward the vision of autonomous or self-driving cars, and includes features like automatic lane changing and the ability of the Model S to parallel park for you. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Franz Von Holzhausen is chief designer of Tesla Motors, the high-end electric car company that’s been called “the Apple of the auto industry.”
This means the 47-year-old is the brains behind the Tesla Model S, a car that’s received a ton of industry praise, including the 2013 Motor Trend car of the year,Automobile magazine’s car of the year in 2012, andConsumer Report’s top scoring car ever in 2013.
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Tesla delivered 10,030 cars in Q1 of 2015, and they’re expected to relaseQ2 numbers on Wednesday. As investors await the report, we thought we’d take a look at the famous car’s not-so-famous designer.
Despite the fact that he heads up design for such a buzzed-about car company, little is known about Von Holzhausen. His Wikipedia page contains fewer than 150 words, he has done few major press interviews (he spoke at SXSW in February, though we couldn’t find any video of the event). He’s only published two tweets ever and there’s no salary or net worth information available about him in the public domain (predictably, Tesla said he was not available to be interviewed for this piece).
Here’s 3 things what we do know about Von Holzhausen:
1. He’s worldly
Despite the name, he’s not German, but he does have an international bent. Von Holzhausen spent a good chunk of his college years in Switzerland,according to a 2010 interview. That’s probably where he picked up German. He’s fluent enough in Deutsch to diss Tesla rival BMW in the car maker’s native tongue.
2. He’s got an impressive resume beyond Tesla
Von Holzhausen began his professional design career in 1992, assisting design on the VW Concept One (the “New Beetle” of the 90s).He then worked for GM for five years before going to Mazda in 2005. There, Von Holzhausen designed the Mazda Kabura, a well-received sporty concept car.
3. Elon Musk was impressed by him
Word is that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, personally recruited Von Holzhausen to Tesla from Mazda back in 2008. Von Holzhausen was sold on the company’s commitment to an eco-friendly mission after he toured the Palo Alto, California.