Tesla Model S Head of Product Design (Behind the Scenes)



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Join the second installment of RKS Sessions with Javier Verdura, Director of Product Design and Project Management for Tesla Motors. Verdura will give us a look under the hood of the innovative company- sharing their history, design process and where they’re headed in the future.

The second event in the series, RKS Sessions brings together luminaries and ideas focused on cutting edge user-experience, brand, service and product design. A monthly design-centric event series, it is jointly produced by RKS and Cross Campus. RKS Sessions is also a forum for the design community to share their ideas.

About Javier Verdura
Mexico City-born Javier Verdura graduated from Art Center College of Design with a BS in Product Design in 1991. In 1998 he joined the then start-up firm Product Ventures, he remained there for 15 years as the Vice President of Design and Development, during his tenure he helped grow the company from 6 employees to almost 50. His most recent position has brought Javier back to Los Angeles where he is currently the Director of Product Design at Tesla Motors. Over his 22-year career, Javier has designed everything from surgical equipment to consumer products and packaging. He has been recognized by winning some of the industry’s most prestigious awards: 3-time Red Dot winner, Multiple Good Design Awards (7) and an IDEA award. In addition, his name appears in more than 130 patents in US and abroad. Javier’s philosophy on Industrial Design: if you can’t manufacture what you create, it is not worth designing.

About Cross Campus
Cross Campus is Los Angeles’ largest and most dynamic coworking space.
It’s a work spa designed to help entrepreneurs, freelancers and digital nomads achieve peak productivity and meaningful collaboration.

About RKS Design
RKS collaborates to contribute value to many different categories, including: healthcare, consumer packaged goods, appliances, housewares, sustainability solutions, entertainment, consumer electronics, transportation, lifestyle accessories, industrial products, retail, social innovation and many more.

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12 Replies to “Tesla Model S Head of Product Design (Behind the Scenes)”

  1. Matteo

    Hi Javier. At 34:35 you said "with no engine in front, you have no mass there to protect the occupants of the car."

    Unfortunately this is not the case and the opposite is true. In a crush, the engine in front is pushed into the cabin. That's why most people get killed in front end collusions. In fact because the engine is such a big problem, car manufacturers try to design it so that it slips under the floor in a front crush instead going into the cabin.

    Because the Model S has no engine in front it has a long crumple zone. This is a big advantage over ICE cars. In an impact, the crumple zone absorbs the kinetic energy and protects the cabin.

    From NHTSA, this page shows Model S has 5 stars in all categories including front crash:
    http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Vehicle-Detail?vehicleId=9832

    In comparison BMW 5 series has 4 stars in front crash.
    http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Vehicle-Detail?vehicleId=9189

    In fact the reason why Model S received the highest ratings ever from NHTSA is because it has no engine in front. Most cars get 5 stars from other categories but fail in front crush ratings. Model S has two safety advantages over ICE cars: 1. longer crumple zone in front. 2. Low centre of gravity and therefore low rollover risk. 5.7% in Model S vs, 9.3% in BMW 5.

    I just wanted to point out this detail. In a shareholder meeting Elon explained the importance of crumple zone. He said other cars are like jumping to a shallow pool because they have so little crumple zone to absorb the impact.

  2. websuspect

    everybody doesn't have to have an electric car, the use and production of electric cars only has to be enough to offset the amount of oil required to constitute a National Security Issue.  Which may be a small or large percentage.  People who are interested in sustainable energy can offset their "carbon footprint" with solar charging.

  3. MARK Yates

    and the company's transferrable skills to other companies. A brilliant visionary in Elon Musk who put in $100m of his fortune into a company. Vision as in seeing that people, especially geeks want electric cars to succeed, and there's lots of geeks and they have high earning techy jobs, and if you build something really really great it'll succeed itself without advertising. Supercharging and batteryswap is brilliant vision to kill "electric cars won't work because of range". Also building a car with a near 300 mile range is genius too – aiming for the top of the consumer market first with a $100k car.

  4. MARK Yates

    I can answer most of the questions he can't.
    Range – why is it so much more than other cars.
    1. Easy – It's a more expensive car with a bigger battery pack 60 or 85kW vs 20-25kWhours in the other cars they showed. 3-4x bigger pack = 3-4x the range!

    Cost – the car is expesnive also because of the aluminium. Aluminium is 5x as expensive as steel but a third the weight for almost the same strength. There's about $8000 of aluminium in each car. Then the aluminium is thicker in the right places. $20000 of battery pack.

    Note nobody has technically died in a TESLA… apart from the person who stole a car in Hollywood – crashed it at 110mph. He died but was resuscitated back to life apparently! 5 or 6 other people were injured – 2 seriously.

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