Tesla brings in Volvo’s interior engineering chief Anders Bell in a bid to improve cabin quality

Article by Christian A., on December 26, 2016

We will be frank. Tesla Motors’ electric technology, exterior looks, aerodynamics, speed and quickness are all superb – except for its interiors. Yes, the inside of the Tesla Model S is sporty, but it is not luxuriously and comfortably sporty. In short, Tesla’s interior doesn’t live up to the brand’s reputation as a manufacturer of all-electric premium cars.

However, Tesla’s recent move indicates how serious it is of turning things around and putting the focus on interior quality and design. The California-based electric carmaker has tapped Anders Bell as its senior director of engineering.

According to Bell’s LinkedIn profile, he served as the head of the interior engineering department at Volvo Cars Group. His position gave him global responsibility for strategy, concept development and design & release as well as industrialization & launch of all future Volvo models. This department – consisting of 360 engineers in Sweden and 40 in Shanghai, China, is in charge of designing and creating the interior of Volvo’s vehicles. These include functional areas like the instrument panel, center console, and all interior surface materials as well as interior soft and hard trim.

The department is also responsible for designing door panels, overhead system, luggage trim, interior light, seat belts and cargo restraints as well as front and rear seat systems. He served as chief of interior engineering department at Volvo Cars for two years. Prior to that, Bell served in China for years, being responsible for building Volvo Cars China's interior and climate engineering department. He also oversaw the launch of the XC60 SUV in the Asian country.

With Bells on board, Tesla could now afford to create a luxurious and elegant interior for all its models. Comparing the interiors of the 2017 Volvo S90 and of the Tesla Model 3, there is large gap in terms of design, comfort and elegance. Bell lists his accomplishments at Volvo to include the launch of interiors of the Volvo XC90 and the Volvo S90/V90. He was also responsible for the development, design and release of interiors that will be launched in these Volvo models in 2017 and 2018. Bell was likewise responsible for concept definitions of interiors for models 2019 and beyond.

Tesla’s move to recruit Bell away from Volvo should allow the carmaker to significantly improve the interiors not only of its current models, but also of future ones. After all, Bell has an impressive resume and he has proven at Volvo that he has the talent and skills to lift the overall quality of Tesla’s vehicles. A year or more from now, we expect to see a Tesla vehicle with an elegance we’ve never seen before.

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Topics: tesla, volvo, design

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