…and much, much more.
Sandy Munro, the teardown expert of Monro & Associates, is back. A guest on the latest episode of Autoline, he’s got more than a few things to say about Tesla, its high-flying Model 3 and how making this car in China will result in a windfall of cash. And that’s just for starters. We also learn some of the secrets of the Model 3’s motor and some of the other systems that make this all-electric sedan so special. The video (above) is long, but if you have an interest in the company, the car, or just electric vehicles in general, you’re going to want to make the time to watch.
Munro is joined on the set by David Welch of Bloomberg, who provides lots of insight as well, along with co-hosts Gary Vasilash and John McElroy. We’ll recap some of the more salient points here, but truly, this installment is chock full of interesting nuggets.
Things kick off with a bit of a recap. Munro talks about some of the things his company found wrong with the Model 3 design — mostly related to the engineering of parts of the body — along with the everything that was done right, which he says was everything else.
One of those things has to do with the motor design. According to Munro, the Model 3’s motivator takes advantage of Halbach arrays, which produces a stronger-than-normal field on one side of the magnet while reducing the other side to near zero. It’s pretty technical, but the final result is, compared with motors in competitors such as the Chevy Bolt and BMW i3 (vehicles Munro has also completed teardowns of), the unit is smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more efficient. To boot, it’s also cheaper.
Speaking of costs, one of the more interesting parts comes when the group starts discussing profit margins. Munro estimates the base $35,000 Model 3 can hit an 18 percent gross margin from the Fremont factory. He had previously stated the big-battery variants could achieve over 30 percent margins. As impressive as that sounds, Munro becomes especially ebullient when discussing the potential for profit when the mid-size sedan begins to be produced in China.
He thinks there is a lot of room for reducing margins once production begins at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. He posits that if the automaker doesn’t repeat mistakes made State-side, there is an opportunity to remove 20 percent of the cost of its U.S. counterpart. And that’s apart from an additional $300 he believes could be removed from the car’s “body-in-white” if it’s re-engineered.
This, along with the removal of government penalties for foreign production and the huge popularity of the Tesla brand in China, makes it easy to understand why he exclaimed at one point, “When he takes it to China, he’s gonna make a gazillion bucks.”
As we said, there’s a lot more than just this in the episode. The industry as a whole gets discussed — why can’t other automakers mimic Tesla — the advantages of vertical integration, and even a bit about Rivian during the afterhours section. Enjoy!