Franz von Holzhausen, former chief designer for Mazda North America, was initially hesitant to accept an offer to head up the design team at Tesla Motors. Holzhausen had always kept a close eye on Tesla and understood that the automaker would be faced with unique challenges, but that didn't dissuade him one bit.
Luckily, Tesla Motors was seeking a chief designer and Holzhausen's skills intrigued the automaker's chief executive officer, Elon Musk. The two met up at Musk's SpaceX facility and Holzhausen was wooed by Musk's dreams for Tesla Motors. Holzhausen told Business Journal:
Lucky for Musk, Holzhausen wasn't exactly thrilled with his role at Mazda:He made me believe it was not all smoke and mirrors. I finally got a perspective from the horse's mouth, and it was intriguing.
When Holzhausen realized that his beliefs mirrored those of Musk, he joined the Tesla team. Holzhausen was immediately given the job of designing the upcoming Model S from the ground up, which wasn't easy:We had just come off a car that was all about being green in the racing environment. We had done a lot of work with sustainable materials. We were the only ones to have non-vinyl interiors in the industry, but the company was not really embracing it.
Though difficult, Holzhausen seems thrilled with the role he plays in designing the vehicles of tomorrow, closing the interview with this:It was also very challenging. I kind of reeled back a little bit and looked at the bigger picture, because there was no legacy or heritage.
That an awesome dream is becoming a reality is super exciting. We are starting a whole new frontier of what the automobile will become and we are doing it faster and better than everyone could ever imagine.