Elon Musk might be the face behind Tesla, but he isn’t the mastermind behind designing every invention stamped with the Telsa “T,” Cybertruck included. As one of Tesla’s latest and greatest vehicular inventions, Cybertruck is set to be released and shipped out to consumers in late 2021 and early 2022. Many are curious to know who’s behind the Cybertruck’s appearance as it boasts one of the most unique designs of any modern vehicle
The role of Chief Designer for the Tesla Cybertruck was assigned to German vehicle designer Franz von Holzhausen, who also designed the Tesla Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y. While Franz von Holzhausen is the mastermind behind the Cybertruck’s overall design and aesthetic, it was also affected by consumer feedback provided on Twitter.
There has been a great deal of interest and debate over the Cybertruck’s design, especially when comparing it to other examples of von Holzhausen’s work and traditional truck aesthetics. For this reason, we’re going to delve into who Franz von Holzhausen is as a designer, what inspired the Cybertruck’s unique design, and how consumers are reacting to the new direction Tesla has taken with this vehicle.
Who is Franz von Holzhausen?
The person behind Cybertruck’s design is German vehicle designer Franz von Holzhausen, who has been the Chief Designer of Tesla Motors since 2010.
Prior to his position with Tesla, von Holzhausen was the Director of Design for Mazda North America, where he led the design and development of concept and production cars. So evidently, he has had a long history of working with cars and ensuring these products have highly efficient designs bolstered by unmatchable aesthetics.
Since working at Telsa, Franz von Holzhausen has designed countless cars released by the company, including the Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, all of which receive high praise for their sleek and luxurious design in addition to superior build.
Now, over a decade after joining the Tesla team, von Holzhausen is creating quite a stir in the vehicular community with his design for the new Tesla Cybertruck. A quick glance between this truck and the several other cars von Holzhausen has designed would confuse any outsider and leave them questioning if the same individual could possibly be responsible for both designs.
Rest assured, with some input from Elon Musk, it is Franz von Holzhausen that designed the Tesla Cybertruck, and the truck’s unique design elements were all intentional.
The Tesla Cybertruck Design
Tesla founder Elon Musk revealed an image of the Cybertruck to the public in 2017 then officially unveiled it at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles on November 21st, 2019. The truck has made a significant social impact from the first moment an image of its design was released due to its unique appearance.
Anyone looking at the Cybertruck would recognize that there is no vehicle on the roads today that looks anything like it, and for some, that is an immediate turn-off. For others, the Cybertrucks fresh, futuristic design only increases their eagerness for the truck to finally enter stages of mass production and roll out to consumers.
As the latest and greatest Tesla vehicle designed by Franz von Holzhausen himself, let’s discuss the elements of the Cybertruck’s overall interior and exterior design that have it at the center of attention for many in the vehicular community.
We’ll start slow regarding Cybertruck’s design by discussing its interior first. While the Cybertruck might not have much in common with other Tesla vehicles in terms of exterior design, you can clearly see the resemblance and von Holzhausen’s flair when discussing its interior design.
The Cybertruck boasts a spacious interior with a six-seat layout and a jump seat in the front row. As opposed to other traditional trucks, the internal design of the Cybertruck is overtly minimalistic and centered on sleek, clean lines.
Where most cars have a leather or faux leather dashboard filled with knobs, vents, and buttons, the Cybertruck’s instrument panel has a luxurious marble shelf appearance and consists solely of a 17-inch touch screen and a yoke-shaped steering wheel.
Placing all instrument panels into this touch screen and oping for a yoke-shaped wheel over the typical full circle is one of Cybertruck’s biggest hit or miss points with potential consumers. Regardless, it’s a look no other vehicle has, and you might see more of it in the future.
Let’s get to the part of the Tesla Cybertruck that everyone’s been talking about, its exterior. The elephant in the room is, of course, Cybertruck’s boxy, futuristic polyhedral design. There’s no doubt that no other truck, or car for that matter, has an exterior appearance as striking and almost alien as this.
The design choice for the Cybertruck obtained most of its inspiration from f-117 fighter jets and the James Bond submarine Lotus. The Tesla team, particularly von Holzhausen and Must, really strived for a futuristic or cyberpunk aesthetic similar to that of a vehicle in “Blade Runner.”
However, Cybertruck’s futuristic exterior design isn’t the only thing that’s out of this world. The truck also boasts elements never before seen on any modern truck or takes common elements to the next level.
It is built with a nearly impenetrable Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel exoskeleton that ensures durability and safety. Additionally, all windows are made from an ultra-strong glass and polymer-layered composite that allows them to absorb and redirect impact force for improved performance and damage tolerance.
Every component of the Cybertruck’s exterior is present to ensure maximum durability and longevity by preventing dents, damage, and long-term corrosion. Their strength also helps to guarantee the safety of riders.
Clearly, the Cybertruck isn’t meant to just be a cool, futuristic car to look at. It is built to handle a wide range of road and external conditions while providing users with a leisurely but sporty driving experience.
How Social Media Affected the Cybertruck’s Design
The rise of social media has made it easier than ever for companies to obtain consumer input and utilize this feedback to design and invent new products. The smartest of companies do this frequently to ensure they are staying true to their brand while also giving people what they want.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, is no stranger to the powers of social media, which is why he frequently uses personal social media accounts, namely Twitter, to ask consumers what they’d like to see next from Tesla and what can be improved on previously released products.
On June 26th, 2018, Musk beseeched his 58.2 million Twitter followers for input on what they’d like to see in a Tesla truck. His tweet reads:
“What would you like to see in a Tesla pickup truck? I have a few things in mind, but what do you think are small, but important nuances & what would be seriously next level?”
The tweet shows that Musk was not only eager to push the boundaries of normality with the new Cybertruck but also searching for input from potential consumers to make the truck more appealing.
At this point, Musk and designer Franz von Holzhausen had already been working on the truck since 2013, so much of its external design that caught people’s eye was already in the works. However, Musk wanted to ensure other essential elements were included that appealed to the masses and made the Cybertruck unlike any other vehicle on the market.
Unsurprisingly, followers had a lot to say about what they’d like to see in Tesla’s new pickup truck, with various tweets requesting elements such as:
- A flatbed with no wheel well humps
- Addition of a flip stop
- A built-in bed cover with built-in solar panels
- Heavy-duty air compressor
- Onboard inverters for 120- and 240-volt electricity
- Range of 300-500 miles
- A Camper shell
- Front and rear lockers
- Interior large enough to house tall individuals with ample space
- A roof that far exceeds NHTSA standards on roof crush
- An exterior design that could take a beating and be utilitarian
- Reasonably priced like the Model 3
The list goes on, but these are the most significant suggestions people had way back in 2018 present in Cybertruck’s current design. So, clearly, Musk and von Holzhausen truly wanted to incorporate consumer feedback and listened to what was given.
Public Review of Tesla Cybertruck Design
There’s no doubt that the Tesla Cybertruck doesn’t look like any truck people are used to seeing or can purchase today, but that’s entirely the point. It’s not supposed to.
There’s a great deal of debate within the automobile community regarding the Cybertruck’s design, particularly its boxy exterior. For the most part, die-hard traditionalist truck drivers despise the Cybertruck’s otherworldly appearance and crisp lines while Tesla enthusiasts love the new direction.
On July 15th, 2021, Musk made it very clear he was aware of these contentions with the design when he tweeted,
“To be frank, there is always some chance that Cybertruck will flop because it is so unlike anything else. I don’t care. I love it so much, even if others don’t. Other trucks look like copies of the same thing, but Cybertruck looks like it was made by aliens from the future.”
The design goal for the Cybertruck was to be efficient but completely different from the cookie-cutter design most modern-day trucks display. Going back to the Twitter threads, a decent amount of the Cybertruck’s design was actually created with loyal consumers in mind, which goes to show that the truck is for them, not off-brand truck enthusiasts.
At the end of the day, Cybertruck’s design is based on what Musk and von Holzhausen wanted to create and various things consumers wanted to invest their money in when buying a new Tesla vehicle. It was created specifically to be an efficient electric pickup truck infused with sports car performance capabilities and didn’t have the same aesthetic as every other truck on the market.
Many have been anxiously awaiting the release of the Cybertruck since its unveiling in 2019. Gratefully, after years of tweaking and design changes, Tesla is confident a select number of Cybertrucks will be released later this year, and volume production can occur in 2022.
Some design changes had to be incorporated beforehand, such as increasing dynamic air suspension for off-roading and decreasing the truck’s overall size by 3%, so it was more appropriately sized for narrower European roads. With these final changes in place, the public will hopefully see the fantastical Cybertruck on roads within the next year.