Posted on February 06, 2019 by Charles Morris
Auto industry expert Sandy Munro probably knows as much about the inner workings of Tesla’s Model 3 as anyone outside of the company - he’s taken the electric sedan apart and examined every component to figure out how it works, where it came from and how much it costs.
Above: A Tesla Model 3 in the process of being disassembled at Munro & Associates (Image: CleanTechnica via Autoline)
The automakers that would compete with Tesla pay large sums for detailed reports from Munro’s teardowns, and the man himself has become something of a star, discussing his findings in an engaging manner in videos for Autoline. These chats are packed with fascinating insights into what makes Teslas tick. For those who love to delve into the technical details, the latest installment will surely rank as one of the best Tesla discussions of 2018.
Munro is a straight talker who clearly articulates what he likes and doesn’t like about Tesla’s manufacturing methods. His take on what’s good and what’s bad highlights the California company’s strengths and weaknesses vis a vis traditional automakers. After tearing down an early production Model 3, Munro criticized the EV’s build quality and body design, saying, “the strategy for the body is about as bad as could be.” While some of the weaknesses he identified have since been addressed, he still believes that the body is unnecessarily heavy and complex, and that Tesla could have benefitted from some old-school industry expertise in this area. When it comes to Silicon Valley specialties, however, Tesla far outshines the denizens of Detroit. Munro is full of praise for Model 3’s battery pack and its “military-grade” electronics.
Above: Sandy Munro talks, in-depth, about his teardown of the Tesla Model 3 (Youtube: Autoline Network)
In this latest video, Munro explains why Tesla’s electric motors are so superior to those of the theoretical competition. “They’ve got magic,” he says. “The electric motor is smaller and lighter than everybody else, but outperforms everybody.” He even shows us a little magnet used in Tesla’s motors - it’s the size of a camera battery, but it includes some astounding technology that gives it super-high performance.
One of the main points of these teardowns is to figure out how much of a profit the company can expect to make on the vehicle, so some of Munro’s insights about Tesla’s plans to produce Model 3 in China are especially interesting, as Teslarati noted. At the Shanghai Gigafactory, Tesla will be building a new production line from the ground up, so it should be able to apply its learnings from the Fremont and Nevada factories to significantly reduce manufacturing costs.
“Elon made a few mistakes on that body,” says Munro. “You think he’s going to do it again? I don’t. You think the production lines are going to be as bad as in California? I don’t. I think the factory in China is going to be wicked compared to what they’ve got in the States, and I think he’s going to be able to clobber everyone in China. Tesla’s going to make a gazillion bucks. I guarantee it.”
Above: Sandy Munro discusses his Model 3 teardown with Autoline's host John McElroy (Image: CleanTechnica via Autoline)
Munro isn’t the only one who’s been taking Teslas apart, and some other tinkerers are much less gentle. Electrek recently reported on a video in which training expert Brock Archer tears a Model 3 apart in order to demonstrate how firefighters and other first responders can safely extract passengers from the electric vehicle after a crash.