Holzhausen joined Tesla in 2008 and has worked on all the models ever since then
Meet Franz Von Holzhausen, The Man Who Designs Tesla Models for Musk
Franz von Holzhausen, currently the chief designer at Tesla, was born on May 10, 1968, in Simsbury, Connecticut and he grew up there. His father worked on the design and marketing of consumer products. While growing up, he treated the family basement as a playground for his imagination. He filled it with markers, different kinds of paper and other materials.
He drifted towards cars as he grew older. Ome winter, he stripped down a dune-buggy with a friend and then built it back up and he always filled the margins of his books with drawings of cars.
Holzhausen decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by applying to Syracuse University to do Industrial Design. But after two years, he transferred to the Art Centre College of Design in Los Angeles. He interned in Michigan with Ford and in Europe with Volkswagen.
After graduating in 1992, he started work for Volswagen on a top-secret new version of the Beetle which was one of the most exciting projects at the time. “It was a really magical time. Only fifty people in the world knew we were doing this project.” He said in an interview with Ashlee Vance for Elon Musk’s autobiography.
Holzhausen mainly worked on the exterior and interior of the vehicle, including the flower vase that was built on the dashboard. He spent 8 years at Volkswagen and rose through the ranks. Being in Los Aneles, he could hop from one design studio to another, moving from Volkswagen to General Motors and then Mazda.
In 2008, he joined Tesla. Initially, he was reluctant to join the company and did not secure an interview with Elon Musk for a whole month. When he joined, Tesla was on the brink of bankruptcy.
His first work at Tesla was the Model S which was revealed in 2011 and went on sale the following year. Its signature feature was the large central screen that controls almost all functions of the car. It reinforced the impression that Tesla was a technology company after all.
His next work was the Model X which was famous for its Falcon Wing doors. It was launched in 2015. Holzhausen also designed the Model 3, Tesla’s first mass car, which had a minimalist design and a horizontal version of the Tesla touchscreen.
He has also designed the Tesla semi-truck, the 2nd generation Roadster, and the Model Y.