Munro: Model 3 Electronics “Like a Symphony of Engineering”

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Munro and Associates recently tore down the Model 3 and then spoke with Autoline about some of the data-based observations it made through the process.

First and foremost, Sandy Munro shared that he was not impressed with the fit and finish of the car. He was so unimpressed with it, in fact, that he shared it was the worst fit and finish he’s seen in decades of working in the automotive industry. For hardcore Tesla fans, that is surely a disappointment, but it speaks to previously common issues with body panel alignment and other surface quality issues. Reports indicate that those have largely been eliminated, but it’s worth keeping an eye on since it’s something Tesla has struggled with in nearly all models.

The observations were just the start of a much deeper dive into the vehicle, which found that although the customer-facing parts of the car were lacking, the heart and soul of the Model 3 was far more impressive. Starting with the driving feel of the car, Sandy shared that the car has a “nice heavy feel” to it.

The low stature and solid connection with the road is a testament to Tesla’s skateboard design that pins the car to the road with a flat puck of batteries sitting literally as low to the ground as possible. He lit up when talking about the driving characteristics of the car, which was surely buffeted by the instant torque of the electric motor.

Digging into the guts of the car, Sandy spoke to the layout of the electronics of the car, noting that, “this is like a symphony of engineering.” That’s not something you typically hear people say about electronics, and frankly, not something most people would know enough about to speak to, but Sandy comes at it from a position of authority. Holding up a large circuit board from the car, he shared that the electronics are “beautifully laid out.”

Heading over to the battery pack, Sandy had trouble containing himself as he talked about just how much better Tesla’s new 2170 cells were than any other cell. He shared how battery tech had been led for years by industry stalwarts LG and Samsung, but the new Tesla cell blows them all away. At 20% larger than the 18650 Tesla uses in its Model S and X, it packs in 50% more power. That left Sandy “very, very, very impressed” with the battery.

The bottom line on the Model 3 was similarly impressive, as the team found that the Model 3 is over 30% profit, taking the top position for the most profitable electric car out to date and among the most profitable cars out. This most recent teardown is a great insight into the engineering chops of Tesla, the viability of the core financials at the product level, and a reaffirmation that while Tesla is making great progress, it’s not perfect yet as it continues to seek and destroy lingering fit and finish issues.

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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