Upcoming Q&A with Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen - submit your questions!

Upcoming Q&A with Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen - submit your questions!

Later this month we'll publish a blog post featuring a Q&A with Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen about Model S design as we wrap up the Alpha phase. Have a question about Model S design, the process, or approach? Post your questions here for a chance to get them answered!

We know you have many Model S questions, and we will do our best to answer all of them in the coming months. For this Q&A, please tailor your questions to styling and design.

stretchrunner | June 8, 2011

Hi Franz , LOVE the Model S Beautifully designed !!

1. Is there a chance to have a solar power panel roof to keep your car cool while parked in the sun with ac running as (I will not mention your competitor ) but having that option or standard solar power roof to run ac while one is eating or parked keeping car cool is a fantastic idea, this should be on all cars being made.

2.Are you going to change the vent behind the wheel?? The vent is such a great accent to your car...please do not change that look.

3. What options will the car have for radio, cruise control and so forth??

Thank you for your time !!

stretchrunner | June 8, 2011

Hi Franz ,yes I too am concerned with the clearance of the auto seems too low for most states. your car is great for pristine road ways pot holes and clearance for door too curb seems like there is a design flaw??

Volker.Berlin | June 8, 2011

Are you going to change the vent behind the wheel?? The vent is such a great accent to your car...please do not change that look. (stretchrunner)

I second that one.

Is there a chance to have a solar power panel roof... (stretchrunner)
I curious to Franz' reply, if he answers this one. In the mean time, you may want to read this thread:

(BTW, what competitor?? I am not aware of any... ;-)

Timo | June 8, 2011

Where is the charging port in the Model S?

I thought that there must be at least one picture where that charging port is visible, but no. I watched the Alpha hits the road videos, did go thru the Autobloggreen pictures (which are much more detailed than pictures here), pictures in here and not one of those reveal where that charging port is.

That's one well hidden charging port. I mean, it isn't small one, that connector is quite large and it needs a cover to prevent dirt from getting there, so it should be visible. Maybe alpha models do not have such thing as charging port, they might just have that connector inside the car, and beta model does then have it.

So again: where will it be? Front of the car? As close to PEM as possible as in rear of the car? If side, which side?

BladeRunnings | June 8, 2011

Hopefully we hear something on this soon. I'm dying to get more information about the sport version. I'd really like to know whether they will be releasing it next year or whether they will release it at a later date.

Vawlkus | June 9, 2011

As there is no "sport version", unless you count the Sig models, it will NOT be coming out next year.

EdG | June 9, 2011

Tesla started this topic. We subscribers have every reason to believe Tesla is reading these replies. Many people have put down real money in anticipation of a car that does not yet exist. It is only reasonable that Tesla give some sort of message here.

Are you listening, Tesla?

If the legal or marketing department has decided that these questions cannot be answered, the proper thing to do is to simply tell us that with a short explanation. You'd be preaching to the choir, no worries. Answers to even a few of these questions would be welcome. How about it?

When there is no reply, it leaves those of us with "skin in the game" reasons to worry. Is everything alright inside Tesla? We have very good imaginations, that's why we're in this. Don't let these imaginations run wild when there are millions of dollars of investments that can evaporate like deposits at a depression-era bank.

EdG | June 9, 2011

Simultaneous with the above posting, I emailed Tesla a "wake up" message to marketing.

This is the reply I got:

"Thank you for the follow up and notification of the lack of response from us on the forums. I have passed your concern over to a few other folks in marketing who will work on getting this updated as soon as possible. As you can imagine Franz is a very busy individual, but we will do our best to get something up shortly.


Stephen Smith | Customer Advocate"

Designtime | June 9, 2011

I wonder if he was busy when they made the original blog post. Anyway, I know it sounds silly, but my wife and I have decided to put off our reservation until after the Q&A is published.

Maybe I have an irrational fear of being taken for granted.

ErikD | June 9, 2011

Will towbar be an option?

RedRock | June 9, 2011

Range extending low rolling resistance helium tyres?

Thumper | June 9, 2011

You can put helium in tires yourself. I believe USA is running low on this strategic element. We are wasting it on toy helium balloons. We need it for important things like the shielding gas for welding aluminum (your Tesla) and other metals. Tires inflated with helium need periodic topping off because the helium is such a small molecule that is goes through the rubber tire.

txjak | June 10, 2011

Another question: What kind of spare wheel/tire will it have and where will it be located?

Tesla | June 10, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to all who've submitted questions. Franz von Holzhausen is working on his answers and we will have responses up soon. We're sorry for the delay.


David70 | June 10, 2011


Good news for all those who've been impatiently waiting.


Designtime | June 10, 2011

And those impatiently waiting! :-)
Good news indeed.

Designtime | June 10, 2011

Somehow, I had read David70's post as "Patiently waiting".
Good thing I never claimed to be smart!

David70 | June 10, 2011

Hey, you don't have to claim to be smart to be smart. And of course vice versa.

And don't feel bad. I typed "visa versa". Versa was flagged as in error, so I googled it to see that vice versa is correct.

We read what we expect.

Designtime | June 10, 2011

You don't have to claim to be smart to be smart is my phrase of the day. I like it.

jfeister | June 10, 2011

Thanks to EdG for pestering the good folks at Tesla.

Something tells me the conversation went a little like this:

Marketing: "Franz, we think it would be great if you answered a few questions from those folks on the forums who are so interested in the Model S."

Franz: "Well, Musk has me designing some sort of sexy mini van / all terrain vehicle, which is even harder than it sounds, can it wait?"

Marketing: "These geeks spend way too much of their free time posting on our forums. We feel we should throw them a bone."

6 weeks later

Marketing: "Franz, the interwebs are getting grouchy. How bout those responses?"

Franz: "Grrr...stupid marketing intern. Leave me alone!"

msiano17 | June 11, 2011

+2 jfeister ... very funny

Mark.V | June 12, 2011

Hello Franz,
I am told that RV parks have 440Vac facilities. If so is anyone at Tesla been tasked with contacting this/these organization(s) and conveying the opportunity of refueling EVs.

Mark Vranckaert
Vancouver, B.C.

David M. | June 15, 2011

Franz - Will Tesla Motors be accepting trade-in vehicles with a Model S purchase? This would help to make the purchase experience very smooth. It would also help to reduce the tax the buyer has to pay. In Florida, you only pay sales tax on the (cost of your new car MINUS the negotiated trade-in value). So if your Model S cost $70K, and your ICE trade-in value is $12K, you only pay sales tax on $58K, and you don't have to make a special trip to Carmax.

Also, I'm anxious to know when we (Reservation Holders) will get to actually look at a Model S Beta. I figure sometime in the next 3 to 4 months? I'm hoping to actually drive one before the end of this year.

And, how exactly will this 3G, or 4G capability work? Will it work independently of a cell phone? And, will we be having internet radio and Pandora "for sure" in the Model S??

Look forward to receiving some information from you real soon. Thx.

EdG | June 15, 2011

David M.: I'm pretty sure all you have to do to get the sales tax on the difference is to collect the sales tax when you sell your car and file the appropriate forms. In essence, a typical car dealer is doing the equivalent. So if you sell your old car for $10000, you'd have to collect something like $10600 (6% sales tax rate?). I don't know if you just pocket the sales tax ($600) and file a form with Florida showing the sales tax paid on the new Tesla and that collected when you sold your car, or what. But, basically, that's what happens.

So you don't need Tesla to do the transaction for you, but it would make for less paperwork. Tesla could probably just do this as a service, and some car dealer would take your car off Tesla's hands, and you might just end up getting that much less for your car for the convenience.

David70 | June 15, 2011

I don't know what the procedure is in Florida or elsewhere, but in Washington the purchaser of a used car pays the sales tax when getting the car licensed in their name.

nlukin | June 15, 2011

Would Tesla offer window tint as an option for Model S? I would like high quality tint to be put in by the manufacturer (Tesla).

Todd Burch | June 16, 2011

@David M: I highly doubt Tesla will be taking trade-ins. Too risky for them--they have neither the parking space nor the money to accept trade-ins. Maybe once they've developed more as a company (5-10 years down the road?)

doctorbyday | June 16, 2011

I am going to put in a 220 Volt outlet in my garage. Should I plan on it being near the front of the vehicle or the rear, or one side or the other?


Chris P 641

doctorbyday | June 16, 2011

Oh sorry, I see Timo already asked about the charging port. I also see we only have a "chance" at getting our questions answered, but I will appreciate it if we can get an answer on this issue soon.


Volker.Berlin | June 17, 2011

Tesla, Franz, you can be REALLY proud of your loyal, understanding customers. Seems like we are a REALLY patient crowd. Your promised blog post is 17 days overdue, that's more than two weeks, or 50% over the original deadline. We were very happy about your announcement, and we did not ask for a precise deadline. You suggested the deadline, and we were happy with it.

During the last 17 days, only very few posts popped up here and there, some asking for the promised reply to the questions in this ever-growing thread, but most just asking for an explanation or a sign of life at least. A few people were a little stunned, some were moderately upset by the fact that you -- seemingly -- completely and silently ignored your self-chosen, publicly announced deadline. But all in all, you have to admit, we have been extremely calm, quiet and patient, just waiting and trusting.

There has been a sign of life. Thank you for that short note, anyway. Now, PLEASE, don't tax our patience even more. We'll need every bit of it to hold out until the Model S becomes available. Put up that blog post now. Or a detailed explanation why you can't.


mnx | June 17, 2011

Have some patience Volker... You're going to go insane waiting over another year for the car if you're that uptight about a blog post. LOL

Volker.Berlin | June 17, 2011


tomf301 | June 17, 2011

Not really a question - more of a suggestion and compliment. First let me say the S is an awesome looking car in still pics and in the driving videos I cant wait to drive/buy one.

Second, as for the front grille, there are several iterations that would look good depending on exterior color of the car. I like the one with the horizontal bars and Tesla logo on the lighter color cars, the solid black one is OK looking on the car in the video. I would only put the silver mesh one on the darker colored cars and it is still my least favorite. My suggestion would be to offer a few grille options.

I have seen allot of negative comments regarding the front grille, but that wouldn't stop me from buying the S. If it only comes with one grille and I dont like it, I'll make my own. Or maybe I'll start a company making custom aftermarket grilles!

Timo | June 17, 2011

I have already dropped out the thought that this thread gets answered by anybody in the Tesla. It has just become a another thread amongst others. Website is apparently in somewhere between 101 and 102 of priority scale of 1-100 where 1 is most important. They had problems with "new" flags for half a year making "upgrades" which are still not visible, and "new"-count is still not right in main screen.

Scary thought is that if they can't manage a simple website properly, how well does everything else work then. Maybe Model S will be half-working product like this website as well.

I don't think Franz is reading these. Some marketing guy that has no importance might have done the initial post, and Franz isn't probably even aware of its presence, much less doing something to answer these questions.

Discoducky | June 18, 2011

I consider this thread, the forums and the general openness of Tesla to be icing on the cake or gravy, depending on your taste, to an already fulfilling car buying experience. This is way more than GM or Nissan or Ford or MINI or Volvo is doing with their EV programs sans MINI-E.

Not only do I think that the pursuit of greatness is a joy, but the anticipation of greatness is better knowing that it will become a reality because of it.

We are both standing the on the shoulders of giants and as one voice, are those very shoulders from which they can stand.

To say it another way. My son is 1.5 years old and from the fruits of our labor, I know he will only know gas stations as a thing of the past.

Here's to waiting for the big day!

GarySV | June 18, 2011

I'm interested in hearing why the Model S isn't available in all-wheel drive. It's a bit heavier, but surely within the grasp of Tesla's engineering staff. And look at the Ferrari FF. It's all-wheel drive and doesn't have a front-heavy imbalance at all. It's in the current edition of Popular Science magazine.

GarySV | June 18, 2011

And will the Model S have an optional heads-up display?

David M. | June 19, 2011

Franz, just one more comment on the evolving front grille. Thanks for keeping the logo in the grille and not moving it to the hood. And thanks for reducing the black plastic in the grille, compared to previous photos. BUT the new shiny chrome that runs the perimeter of the grille is just too shiny. Especially on a dark color car. All that chrome reminds me of a Buick. Not good.

William13 | June 19, 2011

GarySV, Tesla will have AWD eventually. Don't know when and what model. The Ferrari FF has not yet been sold and costs $300,000. This is above the Tesla Model S price point.

jfeister | June 21, 2011

I doubt this blog will ever be posted as well. I'm guessing Tesla has come to realize that answering 90% of the questions could be an illegal disclosure of information. I was in a Tesla store recently and the reps were very hesitant about revealing undisclosed details about the Model S.

My bet is that Tesla isn't ever going to respond to these questions directly. Someone thought it would be a good idea but didn't realize the legal implications. Hopefully they've learned their lesson.

Too bad, it would have been fun to have some direct dialogue about their work. I guess that's a drawback of dealing with a publicly traded company.

Volker.Berlin | June 21, 2011

jfeister, I agree with this part: "Someone thought it would be a good idea but didn't realize the [...] implications." But why "legal"? How could "90% of the questions [...] be an illegal disclosure of information"? I would think that it is mostly up to Tesla to disclose what they want. When it comes to details in technology, there may be patent legal issues involved. But I do not see how questions like "will cargo space be the same for all battery options" or "what compromises did you have to make going from prototype to production" would have legal implications if Tesla wanted to answer them.

Assuming you are right I would still expect an explanation from Tesla's part, and an attempt to answer those questions that have no legal issues involved.

IMO, posting that blog post is just not high on their priority list, that's all. I keep telling myself that it is still important to them, but there are just too many other things that are even more important to get the Model S right on schedule. Would be really sad though if they miss this opportunity and let their credibility become questionable.

mitchman79k | June 21, 2011

Are There any plans on intergrading a wireless battery charger option into the Model S?

Volker.Berlin | June 21, 2011

Are There any plans on intergrading a wireless battery charger option into the Model S? (mitchman79k)

To my knowledge, nothing has been published in this regard yet. But there is a thread in this forum that discusses the topic:

appletree2 | June 21, 2011

Hello Franz

i was wondering if a solar PV Roof can be included - i imagine (looking at the delivered power from my PV on the House-roof) this may help when not around a charging station with the S Model parking somewhere (even if it is taking rather long to charge - but it will keep you confident) - might be an idea to keep the Batteries loaded even over a period of time without using/charging the Car (i imagine some energy will always be used).

Just a thought..
Can't wait to see the Car on the Street - currently saving money up!


Volker.Berlin | June 21, 2011

appletree2, maybe at some point, Franz is going to answer the questions in this thread. Maybe not. In the mean time, you may want to read these threads that discuss your topic:

EdG | June 21, 2011

According to an email received today (in answer to my note that the late reply is now late), they are indeed working on replies ("crafting the best possible response"), and appreciate our patience.

Brian H | June 21, 2011

Actually, he'll answer them in a blog entry, not here.

jfeister | June 21, 2011

@ Volker
It has to do with the fact they are a publicly traded company. If Tesla discloses information that could be used to give an unfair advantage in the stock market, they could get in big trouble with the SEC. If you watch any recent interviews with Musk for example you'll see that he avoids certain questions because of concerns regarding this. The number of Model S reservations is a good example.

Press releases and filings with the SEC are considered sufficiently public that they do not give anyone an unfair advantage I believe. I don't know if blog posts qualify for this. I suspect they do not.

Now whether or not a lot of these questions will give that advantage I'm sure is debatable. Perhaps Tesla just wants to play it safe, which is probably wise. I can tell you chatting with folks at the nearby dealership that they didn't want to tell me what the 0 to 60 speed in the 160 mile car would be, if there were differences in cargo space between the ranges, or whether the instrument cluster would be a screen or not. So it gives you an idea of what kinds of questions they don't feel comfortable answering.

William13 | June 22, 2011

Jfeister, from what you say the blog would merely need to be simultaneously published as a press release. Why not? Certainly there are many aspects that they do not want to give away yet and there are other items for which there is still doubt even for them. They will carefully go through any blog/ press release.

Trnsl8r | June 23, 2011

Me thinks they're probably busy weeding out the 90% or so of responses that have nothing to do with styling and design...