German Automaker Pays $230K For Tesla Model 3 To Reverse-Engineer

Tesla Model 3


A German luxury automaker paid about $230,000 for a Tesla Model 3 to reverse-engineer and benchmark, and the results were positive.

Not long ago, we shared a story about Daimler renting a Tesla Model X on Turo and putting it through the paces, dismantling it, and then reassembling and returning it. Apparently, this is something that happens from time to time when an automaker wants to benchmark a vehicle that it can’t get or doesn’t want to pay for.

RELATED: Teardown Expert Test Drives Tesla Model 3, No Longer Compares It To 90s Kia – Video

This time, the unspecified German automaker actually paid for the car, and in significant excess of its price tag. We all know that the Tesla Model 3 is not easy to come by, and it’s no surprise that any competing luxury automaker would want a closer look at what attracts a half a million paid reservations and keeps people engaged despite its exceedingly late production timeline.

Tesla Model 3

Inside the Tesla Model 3 LA Auto Show (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

According to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (via Electrek), the transaction reportedly cost around 185,000 Euros (~$230,000), and this doesn’t include transportation overseas and customs fees. The current Long Range Model 3 starts at $49,000.

The publication reported that the vehicle was rigorously tested for a number of days and then disassembled completely. As reported by Electrek, the automaker’s engineers said that Tesla has “perfected the minimalist design” with regards to the Model 3’s cabin. They also explained:

“Each sub-assembly system was put to the test, but the testers were especially impressed by the power electronics. Compact, expandable, fully integrated, modular, easily accessible, well-protected, reasonably priced and astonishingly clever in many details – that was the verdict of the experts, to which colleagues from other manufacturers also agreed.

This minimalism runs through the entire vehicle. There is initially only one engine, only one forward and reverse gear, only one driven pair of wheels, only one cooling circuit for the entire system.”

At this point, we don’t really have any more information from the process, nor do we know which German automaker or automakers are involved. However, it seems likely that it was some kind of a joint effort based on the wording above.

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla

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48 Comments on "German Automaker Pays $230K For Tesla Model 3 To Reverse-Engineer"

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The quoted paragraph if true must have been written by someone that had never seen an EV before.

For example – EV’s don’t have forward or reverse gears – the motor just spins in the desired direction.

Captain Obvious

And how do you call the thing that selects in which direction the motor spins?


A switch..

Captain Obvious

More specific please – how do you separate it from other switches? So… spin switch? Yes?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

A rotational direction reconfigurationthingamajig.

Robert Weekley

A Motor Controller! It’s Electronic, not mechanical!

Tim Kulogo

3 Phase AC current


There are many EVs with gears. Mainly german ones 😀


All EV’s have gears. But they are not transmissions. Normally it’s just a gear on the motor output connected to a gear on the driveshaft and there’s also a differential. There are no clutches or a way to disengage the motor from the wheels. Neutral just means no current is going to the motor. The current generated has to go to a sink or charge the battery.


They are transmissions, BMW calls the i3 unit a transmission, and I suggest you look up the definition of transmission. A transmission is not required to be able to shift.

Someone out there

Well that was a waste of money as they go for below list price on eBay

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


They could’ve offered the ebay seller 5K over the asking the the person would’ve taken in a heartbeat.

How smart are they really if they actually shelled out $230K for one.


They made far more money than that selling the data.


They missed the quote by the “U/I german automaker” that also had them saying the Model 3 had the build quality of at least a LATE 90’s KIA. Much better verdict than Munro’s initial “90’s KIA” assessment. 😀

Meanwhile, while the Model 3 toils in production hell, GM says “thank you” and scoops up more and more disenchanted 3 reservation holders that turn their $1k Model 3 deposits into Bolt purchases.


Tesla should have ramp up by now or should have release both models 3s this year with all the options. Now it’s just playing catch up and losing money. Now im in the i3 and Nissan leaf boat


Looks like Tesla stands to lose literally dozens of sales of undiscerning buyers here…Oh no!



Bolt purchases? More like leases. The way things are going, it’ll be couple of years before Tesla catches up in production, so Bolt lease makes sense while waiting.

But don’t worry; when Tesla 3 catches up in production, they will switch over to Tesla. There’s only so much hassle you can put up with bunch of free chargers clogging up single (or even dual) handle CCS, not to mention unable to go to AZ for Everclear runs.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“not to mention unable to go to AZ for Everclear runs.”

ROTFLMAO……… u stooooopid.

sooooo……….what proof is that bottle you get?


You want proof? You want proof? You can’t handle the proof!

No officer, it’s not for drinking. It’s just to clean the circuit boards and disinfecting wounds.

Yes, we all saw the incredible number GM put in January for the Bolt, even if you count all as Tesla cancellations it’s still only 1000 and chance….truly pathetic. You are delusional, dude!


An ugly liar and troll you are. I read the entire article – nothing of this sort mentioned. Go to hell you ICE troll.

Hey bro you should have read the follow up on how much they love the model 3 or how the German company said it was a work of art on how well the model 3 was made. You also posted an article that left out the plunging sales of the bolt in January while the increase sales of the model 3 and how they will continue to rise to the point that the bolt will be a rounding error in how many Ev’s are sold. I also take it you are a little mad that no one was interested in even buying a bolt to tear it down because it is no one would waste the money trying to copy a car that will be lucky to sell 20k this year. Then again maybe someone did try to tear down the bolt but the seats were so uncomfortable they couldn’t sit there long enough to get it done. Or maybe they realized that a 40k tiny car that has poor aesthetic, cheap plastic interior, bad seats, no ACC, no long range version, no four wheel drive, no autopilot, no performance model and not even a garage door opener. Mad bro… Read more »

How true is this? I am very surprised that the opinion of whatever organization that did the teardown would be so public. If it was done by a contracted engineering firm, they would report the results only to those companies in the contract. This is very high praise for Tesla and I can’t imagine a competing manufacturer wanting this praise public.


I guess what I am saying is, could this be a “leaked” fantasy by a Tesla fan?


Consider that the source is Electrek, a known TSLA shill.


It seems fake news. Most engineering firms have NDA on thier projects. Why release these statements if you can get sue or fire


GM shill calls electrek shill… Pot, kettle…



To re-enforce above statements:
“This minimalism runs through the entire vehicle. There is initially only one engine, only one forward and reverse gear, only one driven pair of wheels, only one cooling circuit for the entire system.”
This is standard fare for almost all EVs, nothing special here. As stated above technically wrong about the forward and reverse gear, there is only a single reduction gear and the motor is reversed, not via a separate reverse gear.

“…reasonably priced and astonishingly clever in many details – that was the verdict of the experts, to which colleagues from other manufacturers also agreed.”

So the author of this report was able to get statements from experts in each of the manufacturing companies involved and they all agreed that Tesla engineering was much better than their own. 😉


Yep, the manufacturers were perfectly fine with freely sharing information they just shelled out $230k for to a random TSLA fanboi website. Lol

Get Real

LMFAO, despite serial anti-Tesla troll mental MadBro starting to OC carpet-bomb the Tesla threads again, the source for this information came from a German newspaper and not Electrek or any other of the green car websites:

So as usual, the shills, shorters, and haters continuosly try and lie and FUD away what is bad news for them just like the Trumpster does.

However, in the real world facts matter like the fact that the Tesla Model S is now OUTSELLING its German competition in Europe (this already happened in the US of course) and the Model X sales are rapidly rising too.

The point is that despite GM shill’s fears like that of MadBro, Tesla is primarily taking sales from the German luxury ICE brands and anyone who is a true advocate for EVs should agree that this is a positive development as should anyone with real and not fake concerns about American competitiveness in the world.

I conclude that MadBro, Some Troll Out There and the other serial anti-Tesla trolls that pollute this site just don’t give a rat’s behind about these important issues and prefer to act like the lying, duplicitous Trumpster instead.


Yeah fanboys like you forget to mention that most of those Teslas were sold cause of insane incentives given by taxpayer, which makes the Tesla cheaper than a Mercedes E class in some markets, eg. in Norway alone a third of the Teslas were sold


Then to follow your logic in a few months sales of luxury German autos will rebound as the ev incentives for Tesla are cut back to eventually disappear.
Of course the alternate view is that Tesla simply makes a superior vehicle, which is actually the case.

Sure the incentives help, but you are missing the big picture by focusing on a minor detail. But then of course you are smarter than the entire engineering team that dismantled this car and gave it superlative marks.

Get Real

As usual, bitter trolls like James are negligent in even basic research like the fact that the German EV incentive program was set up to specifically exclude Tesla Model S and X so that blows up your FUD thesis!

Get Real

As usual, bitter serial anti-Tesla trolls like James are negligent in even basic research like the fact that the German EV incentive program was set up to specifically exclude Tesla Model S and X so that blows up your FUD thesis!

Another Euro point of view

Your suspicions seems grounded, on top of that it comes from Electrek (aka “the Pravda”).


@Another Euro point of view
The source for this information came from a German newspaper:


“only one forward and reverse gear” this seems badly worded as it reads like there is a separate gear for forward and reverse which is not true. There is a single reduction gear which is used for both forward and backwards motion. To reverse, the electric motor’s current is just flipped and the motor runs the other way. Simples!


I think they mean gearbox. For instance, my company has a 2-speed e-drive modules


Probably lost something in the translation! You really think it was done in English?


Agreed. The computer program that generated this story needs some updates!

The reader is being fooled if they think an engineer actually said these things publicly to a reporter.

“that was the verdict of the experts, to which colleagues from other manufacturers also agreed.”

WOW! What a sweeping generalization attributed to no one.


Insert Futurama Fry Pic with not sure caption


Hardly surprising that they conclude it’s perfectly engineered.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Couldn’t they have just gone to the patent warehouse and asked for this info?


An article for this is down right silly as this is something every auto manufacture does for cars they think are great and cars they think are terrible…

BMW and Mercedes ship each other new car models free of charge just for the purpose of reverse engineering them…

Ford in China buys every single Chinese made car and reverse engineers them just to see how much closer they are getting to them quality wise…

Articles like this are great for fan boys to be shocked and awed but in reality this does not really even qualify as news to anyone who knows the auto industry…


In these advanced cars, any plug we remove will be recorded on its “systems”. Ultimately truth wins.Earlier every company used to do this to improve their technology.Since patent issues, all has to be careful.


Reverse engineering or competitive analysis happens in every industry among almost every major product category.

it isn’t really a big deal. ICE automakers also do it with other ICE models.

What is impressive is that other ICE makers are willing to do it so urgently. That is a good thing. That means that they feel there is urgency to it all. That is good for us EV buyers. It means that we will have more choices soon.

Martin Tesar

I wonder how the German Engineers will go making their versions more complicated, less reliable and durable and more expensive to buy and service.
Shouldn’t be hard for the German auto industry they have been experts at ripping of consumers for decades.

But it is very good to see the URGENCY on EV’s as many EU nations are thinking about banning DIESELS in cities – the biggest money spinner for German Autos till they got caught cheating and then the pressure from Tesla.

All good as the Germans need a good roast to wake them up.

Courtney vegan

I am guessing it’s not Mercedes, since they already took apart a Tesla?. Audi and VW already have plans for 200 mile cars and SUV. So hello BMW. With your i3 and i8 garbage range.
If you can’t beat them,cheat and steal.