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How Tesla overcame the challenges of electric car design from the ground up

For established carmakers, design is a very iterative process with decades of work to build from. Tesla Motors had no such history to work with, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing said the company’s chief designer.
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Unlike other ele=”ctric vehicles that have strong roots in previous gas-powered models, Tesla cars started with a clean slate. That provides challenges since you can’t build off old ideas, but it also allows a certain type of design freedom that can be turned into a key strength. Tesla’s Model S was the first car to accomplish this and much of it had to do with Franz von Holzhausen, Chief Designer at Tesla Motors.

Speaking at the Gigaom Roadmap 2013 conference on Wednesday, von Holzhausen explained why he was interested in the project. ”The automotive world needed a change and Tesla was moving towards a more green, stable environment. I’d never be able to achieve that at Mazda, GM or VW so I took the plunge.”

When asked about the design challenges for the first Tesla car, von Holzhausen explained what made it difficult and what his design goals were.
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