Tesla Responds To Issues Noted In Model 3 Teardown


Just over one week ago, the same teardown expert who initially stated this “These are flaws that we would see on a Kia in the ’90s or something…I can’t imagine how they released this,” returned to discuss the Tesla Model 3 in more detail.

Now, Tesla has responded (statement below).

The Autoline After Hours video, titled “Tearing Into Tesla’s Model 3,” is well over an hour in length and very detailed. If you missed it, then check it out here, along with our more in-depth follow-up post here.

Watch This – Tesla Model 3 Teardown Reveals Some Issues

Teardown expert Sandy Munro, of Munro & Associates, Inc., seemed rather fair in presenting issues connected to the Model 3. Yes, there are build quality problems (like uneven panel gaps) and there’s still production bugs to be worked out. But he points out that some aspects of the Model 3 will blow you away. Well, it seems Tesla wasn’t too thrilled by some of what was mentioned, so some clarification was needed on behalf of the automaker.

Tesla Model 3 Battery

The teardown video was widely shared and, as such, Tesla has decided it should issue some statements in defense of the Model 3. What follows is Tesla’s statement, in its entirety, via Motor Trend:

“The primary car evaluated by Munro was built in 2017. We have significantly refined our production processes since then, and while there’s always room for improvement, our data already shows that Model 3 quality is rapidly getting better.”

“Since we began shipping Model 3 last year, we have been very focused on refining and tuning both part and body manufacturing processes. The result being that the standard deviation of all gaps and offsets across the entire car has improved, on average, by nearly 40%, with particular gap improvements visible in the area of the trunk, rear lamps and rear quarter panel. Today, Model 3 panel gaps are competitive with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes models, but in the spirit of relentless improvement, we are working to make them even tighter.”

“The U.S. government found Model S and Model X to have the lowest probability of injury of any cars it had ever tested, and Model 3 was designed with the same commitment to safety. While there’s always room for refinement of cost and mass, which we are already improving, electric cars have unique safety requirements to prevent intrusion into the battery, and Model 3 was also designed to meet the latest small overlap front crash requirements that other reference vehicles may not have. We stand behind our physical crash testing and our computer simulations of it, which have been remarkably accurate, and the safety that they demonstrate. The safety of our customers is more important than any other metric.”

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60 Comments on "Tesla Responds To Issues Noted In Model 3 Teardown"

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well Tesla give them a new model 3 and you we be cleared. Why they mention safety record if that wasnt even mention in the video


> Why they mention safety record if that wasnt even mention in the video

I guess, they want to mention that it’s not just all about panel gaps, and safety is a much higher concern among consumers than panel gaps. Of course, they want to emphasize the positive, which is just good PR on their part.

I doubt any other company would respond other wise.


In an earlier video they did mentioned the difficulty in disconnecting the battery in a major accident.

Secondly, we did see a review from a newer owner who stated he didn’t see any issues with the fit of the body parts in his car. So it’s very possible that corrections have been made in manufacturing.


Munro’s first “Model 3 teardown” video wasted a lot of its running time on pointlessly worrying about the safety of first responders in case of an accident, so it’s no surprise Tesla cited its excellent safety record. I say “pointlessly” because — correct me if I’m wrong — there have been no reports at all of first responders being electrocuted by any BEV — not just Tesla BEVs, but any BEV — in responding to an accident. Actual first responders commenting on the subject have pointed out that every auto maker provides safety procedures to first responders, and those responders are trained to look up those procedures before they start cutting into a car.

Perhaps Munro does know gasmobiles, but from rather clueless comments in the video about the Model 3’s electric motor and electronics, it seems pretty clear he doesn’t know BEVs. Plus, there was a very, very noticeable anti-Tesla bias in the narration of that initial video. You’d think Munro gets his income from Detroit auto makers or sumthin’. 😉

For those who have not seen Munro’s infamous first “Model 3 Teardown” video, here it is:



pretty hard to get electrocuted by coming in contact with the car, when the car is on fire and you cant get anywhere near it…facts are facts…https://www.livescience.com/62179-tesla-fire-cleanup-danger.html


No, this is in reference to the Model 3 having more panels and a supposed heavier body then competition. That would come from higher safety standards. And the validation is the higher safety performance.


‘That would come from higher safety standards’.

More panels do not equate to higher safety performance. In modern auto manufacture complex analysis is performed in which a mix of different materials and thicknesses are optimized.

Munro stated it appeared the Model 3 body-in-white was quite heavy and when more detailed analysis was performed it could be tied to panel usage that appeared inefficient and not optimized for performance.

It was a fair analysis by Munro and can be supported with facts and details. If you noticed, Tesla did not say the analysis was not accurate but tried to interject the old chestnut (you don’t have our latest version of our product).

The takeaway from the Munro analysis is:

1) Nice car, 2) expensive to manufacture, 3) QA concerns, and 4) Tesla needs more specialized automotive expertise where is may not currently exist within Tesla (i.e. contract out specialized skills).

Nice car that could have been an industry slam dunk. Elon needs an Operations counterpoint with the charter to tell Elon NO on mission and scope creep.

Tesla optimized things for body integrity and crash resistance. Let’s see how that balances out with the criticism. More weight? Yes. Effects? Handling is good. Range is excellent. Performance is great. If there’s a down side to the weight, he didn’t say what it was. If you want to know how weight affects performance efficiency, use a tool such as EVTripPlanner and map out a trip with the Model 3. I picked a 400 mile trip from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. With 200 lbs of payload, it takes 19 minutes of supercharging if I start off full and want at least 15% remaining when I get there. If I increase the payload to 1200 lbs, then charging time jumps to 21 minutes. In other words, if I charge while I stop to eat, it won’t make a difference. Whether or not I make a particular red light can have more of an effect on the trip than the extra weight. It’s true that weight affects range more if there are constant stops. But for local use, the average driver goes 40 miles per day or less. Plugging in overnight will mean that the car will finish charging at… Read more »

Actually, if safety was a higher concern amongst consumers, than volvo would be the best selling car prior to tesla coming along. It was OK selling, but not good enough to save the company.
That really shows that Safety is NOT a huge concern.
I will say that amongst tesla owners, that safety either is an interest OR becomes one after having an accident and seeing how your car outperforms everything out there.
Fact is, that everybody that lives through a tesla crash always claim that they would have been in much worse shape in ANY other car makers.


> That really shows that Safety is NOT a huge concern.

Tell that to the millions and millions of people who are buying SUV’s because they are under the impression, that they are safer.

You Volvo analogy is off base, in a climate of each manufacturer offering multiple SUV’s to choose from, and wanting to get rid of most passenger cars, as people are not interested in them.

Ask anyone why did they got an SUV, and one of main points they always bring up, is that they are safer.


I heard that most SUVs are purchased by women partly because it is easier to get kids in and out of booster seats. Fits my anecdotal experience, although I had not made the connection myself. If significant, the falcon wing doors address that (but I still don’t like the complexity of them).


I think it is was in regards to having weighty panels that Munro thought to be redundant or at least made too heavy and complicated.


You shouldn’t have to explain to an “expert” the reasoning for the higher structural standard.


Remind me again out a door liner installed backward has anything to do with safety. And while you are at it perhaps you could point out to us how much panels aid in structural support and have a big safety impact.

Bill Howland

Obviously per Musk the guy installed the door liner inside/out since he was using the wrong tape measure.


It’s pretty clear: “cost and mass, which we are already improving, electric cars have unique safety requirements to prevent intrusion into the battery, and Model 3 was also designed to meet the latest small overlap front crash requirements that other reference vehicles may not have”


Yup. Overall, I think it’s pretty clear that while Munro is an expert on gasmobile builds, he’s pretty clueless when it comes to BEV builds. I’m not saying that he’s wrong on everything when he talks about components which are more robust than they need to be, but with his rather clueless comments about the Model 3’s electric motor and electronics, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to the requirements for building a BEV.

Note that in his first follow-up video, he expresses surprise at how well the car performs. The Model 3, like all Tesla cars, is far more than the sum of its parts — literally! Perhaps if he had taken the time to do an extended test drive of the car before he did that teardown, he would have had a better appreciation for why it’s built the way it is.

It might also have gone some way towards relieving him of at least some of the extreme anti-Tesla bias seen in that infamous first “Model 3 teardown” video of his, too.


I didn’t think he was half as bad as the windbag hosts.


Becuase Munro made a big mention of components being heavier than expected and the chassis and body not being optimized for weight. Going so far as to claim they didn’t use modern Engineering FEA software to design the car.

Tesla is saying they designed to optimize or prioritize safety over weight


It’s called deflection. The tear down video praises Tesla in many many ways. The fact that they are pointing out panels that are expensive to make (and by the way don’t impact safety tests) and that Tesla needs to focus on increasing its skillset base in assembly and fabrication is simply a fact….one that Tesla doesn’t even refute and openly admits. Elon’s thin skin (Trump?) leaves him to respond to every criticism which is a distraction and completely pointless. Saying a door panel liner (or whatever that was in the video) got installed backward seems hard to refute. It’s not like there is some big embedded labor pool in California with that kind of experience. It’ll get better over time.


Possibly in reference to the claim by Munro & Assoc. that poor body design resulted in ~200 lbs of excess weight. Tesla are logically claiming that their vehicle is built to exceed legal requirements for safety, resulting in extra mass.

A quote from Tesla’s comment; “While there’s always room for refinement of cost and mass, which we are already improving, electric cars have unique safety requirements to prevent intrusion into the battery, and Model 3 was also designed to meet the latest small overlap front crash requirements that other reference vehicles may not have.“


Report based on an Early VIN.


they bought it in Dec from somebody who already had the car (and paid top dollar for it). As such, it is almost certain to be partially handbuilt.

Timothy Hughbanks

I don’t really see Tesla contradicted the Munro panel gap complaint, rather they are saying that cars being produced now are already significantly improved.


So basically, if bought an early one: Thank you for being a beta tester!


That’s exactly what’s been understood all along among the early Tesla owners. It’s good that the flaws are exposed and widely published so that Tesla can quickly make improvements on them.
I would rather drive a Tesla knowing this than something else until finding about their deadly flaws too late (GM ignition, MB fire recalls, … )

Bill Howland

Its a good thing we now know we all have defective tape measures and we wouldn’t have known Unless Musk clued us in about it.

Strange – why did people mention problems with the “X” before Musk did? Must have been the Cameras and Tape Measures were made by the same people.

No, if you bought an early one there are things that might get updated later with as little inconvenience as possible. I got my car in December with a mid three digit VIN. I haven’t had problems with it. There are no panel alignment issues. There have been some things that Tesla redesigned since I got my car. Tesla came to my house to swap something out because there was a new one with a better design, even though my car wasn’t showing any problems. Tesla also improved the ride quality since they made my car. So I brought it in and they are changing the suspension for free. It’s not something they have an obligation to do. Other companies wouldn’t “fix” something because they made a later improvement and there was nothing wrong with the car as is. While they have it, they will make some other preventive changes. The point though is that nothing went wrong with it, they made design improvements since then, and they will do what’s needed to make sure that anything on the first few cars that’s any lower in quality than what’s on new cars will get swapped out. I knew that if… Read more »
Bill Howland

Better hurry on the updating – the Service Centers are getting more and more busy. Doesn’t seem there will be enough days in the week to worry about details like gaps or other trivial issues like ‘check drivetrain’ alarms..

Hey the car rolls under its own power (Monster Vampire Drain drivers excepted). What more do you want?


“I don’t really see Tesla contradicted the Munro panel gap complaint…”

And I’m very surprised that Tesla didn’t point out how ridiculously exaggerated Munro’s complaints were about that, in his first, infamous, “Tesla Model 3 teardown” video!

I’ve taken a couple of screen shots from that section of his video, where he makes ridiculous, over-the-top complaints about what he claims are badly mis-matched panel gaps on the left and right side of the trunk lid. He claims “you can hardly get your fingernail in” on one side, but “can almost get your thumb in” on the other!

I challenge anyone who hasn’t already seen the video to look at these screen shots, and tell us which side is which. Who are you gonna believe, him or your own eyes?




The philosophical emphasis placed on any metric will tend to ‘pull’ the design in ways that will seem odd or out of place to one who isn’t aware of the emphasis. The over enginering of the body, to provide superior survivabilty to occupants (and the battery) confused Munroe, who is used to seeing cars that meet the minimal specifications of govt mandates, and not a car built to exceed mandates IMHO.


So… the only Model 3 defect would be “MUH PANEL GAPS”?
I read these reviews and try to find another defect. It seems there’s no other one.


And the panel gaps they talk about have all been the trunk lid which was bady miss-aligned but probably easily fixed.


Reminds me of the “Mineshaft Gap”.


Good Dr Strangelove reference; three points!


But the trunk lid wasn’t noticeably misaligned, as you can clearly see if you look at the screen shots from Munro’s own video which are linked in my previous post here on that exact subject. Perhaps if you took a micrometer (or at least a magnifying glass) you could find a tiny difference, but there wasn’t any variation there which the average person would notice, nor care about if it was pointed out to him. This despite Munro’s clownish, absurdly exaggerated comments, claiming you could “hardly get a fingernail in” on one side and “almost get your thumb in” on the other!

It really amazes me that he would make that claim in a video where you can quite clearly see with your own eyes that what he’s saying isn’t even remotely true.


I can see the difference in those two pictures easily. The top crack is noticeably smaller in the second picture.


Yes, but, ‘can you tell it from 50 feet?’ And, ‘beauty is only skin deep.’ And, finally,..’nothing looks good after a year on these lousy roads!’

Bill Howland

Seeing as the BMW I3 has been described as ‘perfect’, and some model 3’s can be seen out of joint by drivers in other cars, the ‘on the par with’ statement is rather of a broad tolerance.

Bill Howland

I particularly LOVE Musk’s statement that “If the car seems out of joint by measurement, then you need a new tape measure”..

Hehe that means my tape measure is good for everything but Teslas. hehe.


Did you know that he was talking in future tense? Or are you twisting his words to suit your beliefs? Hard to see which of the two.

This was what he said:
“Our car needs to be designed and built with such accuracy and precision that, if an owner measures dimensions, panel gaps and flushness, and their measurements don’t match the Model 3 specs, it just means that their measuring tape is wrong. “

He was expressing aspirations, not talking about the current car.

Bill Howland

He’s been aspiring for a long time. My Roadster, initially sold in 2008 had latch and gap problems, enough so that I could have triggered a Lemon Law on this issue alone. After several tries, Authorized Tesla service centers and authorized Tesla Rangers could NOT fix the trouble, and told me as much. I did some machining MYSELF the day before I sold the car to at least give it good ‘fit and finish’ for a little while. I don’t really expect my repair lasted far beyond the sale.


Wasn’t the chassis of the Roadster manufactured by Lotus?


Yes, but Bill never lets actual facts get in the way of his rants or his conspiracy theories. 🙄

Bill Howland
You NEVER have any ACTUAL FACTS. Its just what you come up with in your basement, while ‘relaxing with your thoughts’. You can’t even BUTT IN accurately. I never had any trouble with ANYTHING Lotus had on the original car with the exception of worn out tie rods which were very difficult to obtain and replace. It was all the Great Brain Tesla stuff that they COULD have left alone but screwed with anyway, making the car impossible to fix. Problems were: electric door latches, electric trunk latches, and the actuators and buttons for the same. Today I’m only mentioning CHASSIS issues since that is what TkO was questioning. The only thing Tesla left alone was the front hood, which always worked flawlessly. The chassis is basically a stretched Lotus Elise to make room for the drive battery. But the gadgets such as the 2 door unanvilled buttons, and trunk lid, actuators and solenoids/hinges were all Tesla’s Idea and modification, including purchase of FORD latches for the trunk which was the biggest headache when it came time to resell the car. I remachined (safe to do, since that is all Tesla Rangers did when I complained about it) both FORD… Read more »

Thanks. That explains why Bill has so many wack comments about measuring tapes.

Bill Howland

It was your hero that made the tape measure comment. As others have said – its a deflection. Most people like to get value for their money. Armchair peanut galleries where the commenter has no cash at risk don’t really count.


Complaints about Tesla’s fit-and-finish quality when you’re talking about your personal experience with a car (Tesla Roadster) whose body was made by Lotus, doesn’t really count either.

Bill Howland

Even Dim Bulbs like you might glean why it was 100% Tesla’s fault after reading the adjoining comment. You will find the fact that Lotus made the chassis is an irrelevancy in this case. But don’t be surprised if its over your head to understand.


Bill Howland has been going out of his way to bash Tesla as hard as he can, from the day he joined this forum. Apparently Bill had a bad experience with his Tesla Roadster, and is still carrying a grudge that Tesla wouldn’t buy back the car from him after he had had it awhile.

I won’t say we should discount everything Bill says about Tesla, but we need to recognize that his very strong bias has grossly distorted his perception of the facts.

Bill Howland

Hey, you are the one who accused MUSK of knowingly selling Roadsters with BRICKED batteries, a VERY BIG DEAL seeing as to what the cost of replacement of those things was at the time. I specifically asked you what the defect was that you are accusing MUSK of (of something TRULY MAJOR) and of course, DIM BULB that you are, with no electrical background, couldn’t state what was wrong with the car, (if anything), nor did you apologize for SLANDERING MR. Musk.

Musk thanked me for purchasing his early product and providing seed cash for future vehicles.
Musk has not, and WILL NEVER thank you for anything. You, by your juvenile comments here, tarnish the Tesla Panache.

Bill Howland

Also Pushi, My tape measure comments are obviously tongue-in-cheek. But occasionally Mr. Musk does do things I find extremely humorous and since I have a healthy sense-of-humor, I poke some friendly fun at him – as for instance his ‘Rust-O-Loop’.

You and your ilk will never understand since you don’t have any sense of humor and go throughout your day being mean-spirited 100% of the time – like the only thing you can say to someone who comes up with constructive criticism is ‘they’re shorting the stock!’

Bill Howland


I have stated here in this forum, that my experience with my Tesla Roadster was overall positive, so thats LIE #1, and LIE #2 is that I tried to get my money back from Tesla, which I never did, and stated here as such years ago. I DID MENTION I COULD HAVE triggered Lemon Law Legalities which would have legally forced other outcomes, but I enjoyed having a nice totally electric , good looking convertible sports car, that I stuck with it for 48 months.

Martin Winlow

Mr Munro says “I don’t know” about 30 times throughout the video.
On that basis, I’m inclined to think there is very little significance to his companies’ work as far as the Model 3 is concerned.


With Tesla commenting so much on panel gaps and how they have gotten so much better it seems that Sven is vindicated 😉

Bill Howland

I miss SVEN’s ‘green eye shade’ accounting expertise. To Date, no one has taken his place.


Of all the ‘memes’ one could attach to cars, particularly electric cars, panel gaps wouldn’t be highest on the list. Although considering all the anti-Tesla memes running these days, grab what headlines you can, I guess.

Bill Howland

Panel gaps are not tolerated on $12,000 entry level econo-boxes. They tell me these cost a bit more.
Since they are NEVER tolerated on a new car, the only explanation is that you are not a new car buyer as most of the rest of us are.


Sure there are panel gaps on other cars, you only focusing on your problems. My Leaf has a hood whose two front corners do not sit flush. No doubt there are others but I don’t care.

Bill Howland

Proppo – you do not know what I am ‘focusing on’. I was merely responding accurately to others’ comments and questions.

This is why dealerships have detailing departments – to make sure the car has ‘put its best foot forward’.

I’m sure someone will complain that I repaired the trunk gap on my Roadster the day before its evaluation and sale. I wanted the car to look its absolute BEST.

I rather regard it as ‘going out on a date’. or going on a job interview. I comb my hair, and put on a set of pressed clothes. Is that being somewhat deceptive? – well, maybe in the theoretical sense, but try to tell your teenage kids they shouldn’t ‘spiffy themselves up’ when trying to make a good impression.