Tesla’s chief designer says third-gen car design could be more expressive & couture

The design of Tesla’s Model S is about as clean and refined as it gets. During an interview with me yesterday at our Roadmap conference, Tesla’s Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen described the Model S design as lean and athletic and said it has a sort of classic “ready to wear” element. In contrast von Holzhausen said Tesla’s third-generation car — which will start to get designed next year — has the opportunity to be “more expressive,” and “couture” in its look.

If you’re not familiar with the fashion terms, ready-to-wear describes the clothing that most people buy from stores — they’re made in standard sizes at a factory, and usually they’re designed to be pretty palatable to a mainstream audience. Couture is a term that describes more high end fashion that’s made to measure and is often times associated with riskier, more provocative fashion.

Tesla Model S

So basically Tesla’s third-gen car could potentially have a more provocative look. Before joining Tesla, von Holzhausen made a name for himself at Mazda North America, GM and Volkswagen for designing really provocative cars.

But don’t expect anything way out there. Von Holzhausen said that Tesla doesn’t want to alienate anybody, as they’re on a mission to bring electrification to the masses with the Gen 3 car and it will have the same widespread appeal as the Model S. Von Holzhausen describes the Gen 3 to me as:

As cool as anything we’ve done today and better.

Interestingly, in the interview at Roadmap, von Holzhausen also said that the Gen 3 will get an entirely new electrification platform and won’t be based on the current one that the Model S and X are using. The design on the Gen 3 car will start in 2014.