Tesla Model S Teardown

OCT 20 2014 BY MARK KANE 9

Tesla Model S - 17" 1920x1200 MVA LCD Display w/ Touch

Tesla Model S – 17″ 1920×1200 MVA LCD Display w/ Touch

IHS’ Teardown Analysis Service recently released its initial report from its Tesla Model S autopsy.

The first part is mainly focused on infotainment and instrumentation systems, while in the second part there is short overview of parts like printed circuit boards, charger, motor and battery modules.

Andrew Rassweiler, Senior Director of Teardown services at IHS Technology, indicates that the Tesla Model S is equipped with many microchips responsible for a narrow set of functions. There is also the largest and most advanced infotainment system ever found by IHS in a car.

“IHS teardown of Tesla Model S finds more commonality with smartphones and tablets than autos in user-facing electronics”

Anything can be done, but at a price. In case of Tesla, the price is high:

“A bill of materials (BOM) for the virtual instrument cluster and the premium media control unit that is roughly twice the cost of the highest-end infotainment unit examined by IHS.”

Interesting is that some printed circuit boards were designed by Tesla in house, instead of outsourced to other providers.

IHS will now go step-by-step over most of the parts found in the Model S.

IHS’ Teardown Analysis Service report via Green Car Congress

Two videos from the IHS’ Tesla Teardown are linked below.

Video 1

Video 2

Categories: Tesla


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9 Comments on "Tesla Model S Teardown"

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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Tesla already beats the legacy automakers on systems integration, it looks like. Makes sense, coming from a SV mindset vs. oldthink industrial.

I’d still like to see them launch a customer-facing Bugzilla that’d be part of the support infrastructure, have customer feedback in the product development and support loop..

“I’d still like to see them launch a customer-facing Bugzilla that’d be part of the support infrastructure, have customer feedback in the product development and support loop..”

Tesla did add a mechanism for customer bug reports and feedback in the latest software release, although to search for bugs people will still have to rely on the forums:

“New Feedback Voice Command: There is a new voice command to help you provide feedback. Say “Note”, “Report”, “Bug note”, or “Bug report” followed by your brief comments. The car will capture a snapshot of your system, including screenshots of the two displays. Tesla will review these notes periodically and use them to continue improving Model S.”

sounds pretty standard stuff. I would expect the next gen to perhaps be broken into 2 smaller tablets and perhaps some dedicated knobs, but tablet prices should continue to go down rapidly, so teslas initial cost in 2012 for the model S could drop a great deal by the time the model 3 is released.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Last time I bought a 17″ 19×12 screen it was $150 or so, and I reckon that adding touch to it and buying in 10k+ qtys would put it in the low $200s. 15″ would likely be a lot less though given scale of manufacture. I figure a hidpi 13″ screen suitable for Model 3 will run $50 or so in bulk.

Keep in mind that IHS’s main business is providing information and advice to oil companies. I can see them being keen on what makes these EVs tick. But they might spin some of what they say.

My key takeaway is that they do the software design in-house, therefore changes are quick.

By extension, this explains why the 2011 volt doesn’t have the battery range of the later ones due to GM really not having control of the software.

Interestingly the disassembly team was surprised by the weight of the battery which they reckoned weight in at 1500LBs.

Would be interesting to know the exact weight: put it on a scale!


The “goo” might be there to prevent arcing and/or insulating/stabilizing the parts as the circuits boards are very close to the motor gear box. Vibration is a potential concern there.

That is a smart design… IMO.

The “host” guy seems like he mostly just knows how to wear a suit, and doesn’t really know much about anything. He seemed asked the same question a couple of times.