Tesla Chief Designer Franz: Design is to solve problems, and art pursues personalization


There is a difference between design and art. Art is a highly personal work. Design must solve problems.

In the high-frequency exchange of Tesla, employees for more than 10 years are rare, especially after the departure of former CTO  JB Straubel and former CFO  Deepak Ahuja , the chief designer Franz should be one of the few who accompanied Elon Musk to the present. Executives.

According to the official introduction, Franz von Holzhausen joined Tesla in 2008 and became the company's chief designer, responsible for controlling Tesla's overall design direction. When he first joined Tesla, Franz received an impossible task: design a powerful and attractive high-end car. Three months later, he handed over the design sketch, which was later Tesla's flagship design, the first mass-produced model Model S.

Tesla chief designer Franz and Model 3

With Model S, Franz created Tesla’s design experience and extended this experience to Model X, Model 3, Model Y, as well as the upcoming pickup Cybertruck, semi-trailer Semi and second-generation Roadster.

"Model S will be like the athletes, there is no excess weight and muscle, but the most efficient performance."

On December 1, Franz communicated with the Chinese media for the first time. When talking about the design inspiration of Model S, he said, "The car must be like an athlete, very efficient, but the appearance must be very beautiful and very attractive. "

Although he has been with Tesla for 12 years, Franz bluntly stated that in his design language, "there are no specific requirements, what kind of Tesla must be." Model S can be like an "athlete", but Cybertruck is also It can be very "rough".

The two words Franz talked about most are efficient and beautiful. Efficient is to solve problems, such as conforming to the aerodynamic design, making more space, convenient access to the rear space, and allowing the co-engineering team to go to mass production.

There is a difference between design and art. Art is a highly personal work that does not need to solve problems, but good design can solve problems easily and efficiently. " Franz said.

At the same time, Franz said that Tesla is not an independent island thinking, and will work with other teams to bring innovative ideas to the market. “ We first give play to our design creativity, and then polish it with engineers. We want to bring innovative ideas to In the market, make mass-produced products better than prototype cars."

As Tesla's sales in China continue to rise, Franz is also extending its design inspiration to China. China has a lot of design talents, and we also want to better grasp the market demand, so the best way is for local people to do local design. We hope to rely on Chinese talents from design to engineering, and even export to the world. , We are actively exploring such possibilities." Franz said.

The following is a transcript of 36 krypton and other media and Franz Q&A, slightly edited:

Q: Can you talk about your design philosophy at Tesla?

Franz: We follow Tesla’s first principles, use engineering principles in design concepts, and consider what method to use to achieve it. Good design should be invisible to you. It’s there, but it’s very easy to use. Can solve the problem.

For example, Model S, Model 3, and Model Y have similarities. The vehicle must be very efficient, beautiful, and aerodynamic, and the battery must be used less so that the cost can be lower. Model S is like an athlete, without excess weight and muscle, but with the most efficient performance. The car must be like an athlete, very efficient, but the appearance must be very beautiful and very attractive.

There are no specific requirements. Tesla must look like something. Cybertruck is an example. It looks very unique. Simply put, we want to make very beautiful products that are as efficient as possible and can solve problems.

Q: The Eagle Wing Door of Model X is cool. Where did it come from?

Franz: I was Elon and discuss how 2,3 row up and down easily accessible by car . The traditional approach is sliding doors and sliding doors. In parking lots, sliding doors are not very efficient. This door should not take up space first, and it should open as far as possible to make it easier to get on and off the third row. Our approach is to add a fulcrum so that the door can go up.

Eagle wing doors can take up less parking space than traditional sliding doors, and are better than sliding doors. You can get on and off the car directly from the front and rear, and the doors can be opened larger. It is very convenient to enter the third row, and it looks also very cool.

Question: Many people say that the central control design of Model 3 is too simple. What do you think?

Franz: There are many designs. The hardware inside, chrome-plated metal, will soon become old. We want to make a design that will never be out of date, increase the sense of space, and focus on the car's entertainment system.

Unmanned driving is becoming more and more popular, and we will pay attention to the interaction on the screen as much as possible. Our design is simple, very unique and never out of date. In the interior, we did not use any animal fur, and synthetic leather can also look very advanced. This is my favorite. I am also a vegetarian.

In addition, the hidden air outlet of the Model 3 is also very special. Other cars don't have it. Many cars wanted to try but failed. I think this car is very attractive and very efficient in terms of aerodynamics.

Q: Cybertruck's design is very unique. Can you talk about the original intention of the design?

Franz: I have been thinking about doing pickups for a long time, and tried various solutions. In fact, it is difficult to make pickup trucks. Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, etc., are very strong in the pickup market.

But their pickup trucks are almost the same. They haven't changed in 5 or 60 years. They look very traditional. We also want to break some paradigms and not follow the current pickups. We think that the pickup truck should be very strong, and the outside body should not be so fragile. The pickup truck is prone to dents and gets old immediately. We use a very durable exoskeleton, which is very durable and it is impossible to break it. At the same time, with the most minimalist appearance, the fighter is one of the sources of inspiration.

Q: Does Cybertruck design for the Chinese market?

Franz: We did not specifically target any market at the beginning. Of course, the United States is the largest pickup market, and sales in the United States should be very large. For the Chinese market, our goal is to be able to do engineering design in China, and we will work hard for the models in the Chinese market.

Question: The central control design of Model 3 is more inclined to touch interaction. Voice in China is very popular. Is there any plan for this?

Franz: We have been continuously improving. We don't just throw a car to the market. We will listen to everyone's feedback and do better in interaction. When it comes to future design, I certainly hope to make a breakthrough. I have some projects on hand, but I have no way to disclose it yet.

Question: Designers and engineers have to cooperate frequently. Will there be conflicts? Are there examples of engineers overturning your design?

Franz: One thing Tesla has done very well is interdisciplinary and cross-engineering cooperation. We are problem-oriented and work together as a community to find solutions. We are not independent island thinking. I think there is a difference between design and art. Art is a highly personal work, but good design needs to solve problems easily and efficiently, and at the same time have a high degree of aesthetics.

We have a very good cooperative relationship with engineers. We developed the Tesla prototype vehicle together. When Model S was developed, the prototype car developed at that time was not productive. We first give play to our own design creativity, and then polish it with the engineer. Door handles are all ideas that collide with the engineer. We want to bring innovative ideas to the market, and we want to give everyone the feeling of a mass-produced prototype car, so that mass-produced products are better than prototype cars.

Q: Will you come to a Chinese design center?

Franz: I would be happy to go. There are many outstanding local talents in China, with many outstanding ideas, so the best way is for local people to do local design. We hope to rely on Chinese talents from design to engineering, and even export to the world. We are actively exploring Such a possibility.


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