Tesla chief designer talks Cybertruck and teases upcoming new EV

Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen gave a rare interview where he discussed the Cybertruck design and teased an upcoming new Tesla model.

At Tesla, it’s fairly rare for executives not named “Musk” to be authorized to talk to the media.

Franz von Holzhausen, who has been chief designer at Tesla for over a decade, is a rare exception as he sometimes gives out interviews. The chief designer gave an interview to CNBC where he discussed the Tesla Cybertruck’s design.

Here’s the video interview, and you can find some interesting quotes that we pulled below:

von Holzhausen confirmed that the truck’s radical design is the result of the manufacturing process that Tesla needs to adopt to build the electric truck with a stainless steel exoskeleton:

The Cybertruck is one of these rare moments where in a way, form followed function. A lot of times we put the form in front of the function. Especially in the automotive world. And it’s really tough to mix the two, but Cybertruck is really born out of the idea of a different way of manufacturing, a material that put toughness on the outside. So we really wanted to use stainless steel as a material so that the hardest part of the vehicle was on the outside, not the delicate paint. And it felt right for a truck that’s used in like a Swiss army knife in any kind of environment has to be tough.

The designer added about the limitations of stainless steel and how Tesla handled the design, despite those limitations:

So stainless steel is really tough to form, especially when you make it bulletproof or thicker to withstand impacts and not be damaged. And so we really looked at new ways of manufacturing. You could only break form and form it in one direction. You can’t do compound curves or things with the thickness of the stainless steel that we’re using. So it really led us to a design that was really planar, really simplistic, and it was also a chance to break the paradigm of what pickup trucks have been for the past 60 or 70 years. The same there’s kind of this three box shape, and we just thought from an aerodynamic perspective, having a covered back a sloping roof would also be helpful. And oddly enough, it may not look it, but the Cybertruck is an incredibly aerodynamic vehicle.

That’s fair, though I would add “for a pickup truck.”

von Holzhausen was asked about his favorite design at Tesla so far, and the designer said that it is “the one that’s coming,” but one that he “can’t talk about.”

Top comment by Les Inanchy

Liked by 7 people

I think I’m really tired about hearing about Robo taxis. Other than for companies, likely Lyft or Uber, or maybe even Tesla offering their own service, I just can’t see myself being interested in buying a car to create my own little taxi service. Plus, I think car is designed to be used as taxis should really be built for that specific function, like the English taxis. Boxy and square and easy to get in and out of. Nobody really cares what they look like. And have you ever ridden in a taxi in a major city like New York or Chicago? They all get pretty trashed on the inside. And not to mention the fact that by the time, TESLA does this, FSD will probably cost $25,000 or more. Add the cost of the car to that and who will be able to afford it just to run a taxi business to make extra money?

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The next vehicle that Tesla is expected to unveil is its “robotaxi,” a new EV dedicated to self-driving and being used primarily as some kind of driverless Uber.

Not much else is known about the vehicle, but CEO Elon Musk said that it will be “futuristic-looking.”

von Holzhausen also said that he is excited about the Cybertruck’s radical design being on the road as it should create some interesting visuals. Tesla is expected to bring the Cybertruck to production in mid-2023.

In terms of the production version, the chief designer said it will be extremely similar to the original prototype unveiled in 2019, except a few percentage points smaller.

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