There Are 227 Ways In Which Tesla Can Improve The Model 3


Tesla Model 3 teardown revisited

The tale of the Tesla Model 3 teardown by Munro & Associates continues. Bloomberg published a piece today that again goes over the findings from the work carried out by the firm earlier this year, and includes some recent input from Sandy Munro, the eponymous founder of the firm. According to Mr. Munro, he sent Tesla — for free — a list of 227 ways in which they could improve the mid-size sedan.

We’ll go over a few of those items in a moment, but first, a quick refresher. Contracted by an outside company to perform a complete teardown analysis of the Tesla Model 3, the consultancy released some initial findings in a video interview with Autoline back in February which we not especially complimentary. The phrase “the gaps on this car, you can see them from Mars,” springs to mind.

Later that month, again with Autoline, they released some driving impressions, which were notably more positive. Aside from a quibble with the center screen containing all the driver’s information and most of the controls, they very much enjoyed the driving experience. That positivity continued during Munro’s next appearance, this time in the Autoline Afterhours studio. Though still critical of the build quality, he expressed some amount of astonishment at the sophistication of the electronics located within the car.

Finally, in July, Autoline visited Munro & Associates after the analysis was finally complete. This time around, in addition to positive notes about the battery and electronics, he admitted that “I have to eat crow,” saying the car would be profitable “by over 30 percent.”

So now that we’re all caught up, what are some of the improvements Munro would like to see? They seem to be mostly body-related. For instance, he believes parts of the steel and aluminum frame to be somewhat redundant.  The battery pack sits down there and already adds strength and rigidity. Another issue can be found around back in the trunk. Here, the body is made of as many as nine separate pieces held together with welds and rivets. According to Munro, other manufacturers might use a one-piece fiberglass trunk. By contrast, the Chevy Bolt, we’re told, features a stamped piece of steel.

Perhaps it was because of the attention that the teardown got at the time, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk did talk with Munro about his findings. Apparently, one of the recommendations he made was for Musk to fire the person who had engineered the body, which he was promptly informed had already happened.

One of the other areas found to be ripe for improvement doesn’t have as much with the car itself, but rather its manufacture. According to Munro and others interviewed for the piece, Tesla has too many people putting the vehicles together. Remember those welds and rivets? According to the analyst, that type of joining isn’t suited to automation.

Bloomberg points out that when the plant was operating under the auspices of GM and Toyota, it produced as many as 450,000 vehicles a year with a headcount of about 4,400. Now, the same facility is said to have about 10,000 workers. Tesla may have more vertical integration going on, requiring more hands, but the difference between the two scenarios does point to room for improvement.

The good news is that the Tesla philosophy is one of continual improvement. Unlike other automakers, the Silicon Valley operation doesn’t produce separate model years, preferring instead to improve its vehicles and production processes when it can. Certainly, it does this with its software, improving customer’s cars years after they’ve been in their possession, and we can say that there has been a huge improvement in the fit and finish of the Model 3 since it first began limited production.

Whether they can improve their physical product and processes while increasing labor productivity, leading to profits is the yet unanswered question. Hopefully, we’ll soon see a large positive step in that direction when the company’s 3rd quarter financials results are announced.

33 photos
2. Tesla Model 3
Range: 310 miles; 136/123 mpg-e. Still maintaining a long waiting list as production ramps up slowly, the new compact Tesla Model 3 sedan is a smaller and cheaper, but no less stylish, alternative, to the fledgling automaker’s popular Model S. This estimate is for a Model 3 with the “optional” (at $9,000) long-range battery, which is as of this writing still the only configuration available. The standard battery, which is expected to become available later in 2018, is estimated to run for 220 miles on a charge. Tesla Model 3 charge port (U.S.) Tesla Model 3 front seats Tesla Model 3 at Atascadero, CA Supercharging station (via Mark F!) Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 The Tesla Model 3 is not hiding anymore! Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs) Tesla Model 3 Inside the Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 rear seats Tesla Model 3 Road Trip arrives in Tallahassee Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

Source: Bloomberg

Categories: Tesla

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

25 Comments on "There Are 227 Ways In Which Tesla Can Improve The Model 3"

newest oldest most voted

Well, I always have a problem with “geniuses” like this that can supposedly do better than anyone else.
Why isn’t he working at Tesla in the first place then?

Why? Because he’s getting paid too much by Detroit auto makers.

As an example of just how extreme his bias is, at one point he complains about the panel gaps around the trunk lid. He claims “you can barely get your fingernail in” on one side and “you can almost get your thumb in” on the other side! I have taken a couple of screen shots from that portion of his first “Model 3 teardown” video; see if you can tell which side is which just from the photos.

What a maroon!

If you even read the article he was right about a lot of stuff. Musk fired the guy that engineered the body like Munro said.

Sandy Munro apparently has a lot of experience in the field. It’s not surprising that in a list of 227 suggested improvements, some are worth consideration. It would be remarkable if none of them were!

But I find it shocking that someone who does this for a living could be so ignorant about BEVs, and even more shocking that he would make wild claims about panel gaps which anyone watching his video could see were clearly and obviously not true. Did Tesla have a problem with inconsistency in panel gaps? Yes, and we Tesla fans are happy Tesla has greatly improved that situation. But Munro claimed the problem was orders of magnitude worse than it actually was!

He also wasted an amazing amount of the running time of his first Model 3 teardown video complaining about the supposed danger of electrocution to emergency responders, which is complete and total B.S. Not a single emergency responder has ever been injured or killed by being electrocuted by any production EV. Auto makers provide emergency responders with a checklist of how to handle them when dealing with traffic accidents, and emergency responders do use those checklists.

I’m going to say he could get his thumb in on the right, but not his fingernail in on the left.

Well, I expect Tesla will give these recommendations the full weight they deserve… coming from a guy who didn’t even understand the reason why Tesla beefed up the central parts of the frame* of the Model 3 was to support a heavy battery pack which has a lightweight plastic case, unlike the heavy rigid battery pack case used in Tesla’s previous cars, a case which contributed to the rigidity of the frame in Tesla’s previous cars.

That said, I imagine that he has some useful suggestions. But I’d say the chances that all 227 suggestions will be useful to Tesla, are slim and none.

*Actually I think the Model 3 has unibody construction, but let’s say the parts of the unibody which provide the same support as a frame.

It’s extremely useful to have this kind of independent analysis, even if not all criticisms are justified. I’d be appreciative of it.

This is why the other firm pay him. His input is certainly worthy of attention.

No, Tesla can clearly do no wrong.


I owned two of the cars produced in the GM-Toyota factory in the 1980s. They were okay, but a hell of a lot simpler and cheaper than the Model 3. Munro is comparing apples and adverbs.

True, the volume throughput comparisons are NOT helpful. So many differences. Apples and cows.

Musk n Tesla are hella smart n open minded to strive for continual improvement. The model 3s built this month are better quality than those of the first few months of production. Therefore, like all automakers, the model 3s built next year n next decade should be much better than those built today.

Just another reason why I have always recommended to purchase a third year model or later within a design generation…get the bugs out that you can. With Tesla it’s a little different since they are producing more expensive model 3 versions first. Leasing doesn’t matter much cause any defects are covered by the builder.
However if I were a deposit holder waiting for a base model 3 next year, I would take that base model 3 version any time after the first three months of Tesla building them. Tesla has and will learn much more on how to build the fab model 3 to even better build quality in the months, years to come.

I don’t trust Munro since he changed his mind 100 percent completely about everything and then went ‘GAGA’ over commonplace commodity (NVIDIA) surface mount technology boards that are in common use in many industries.

There just has to be more to this story than currently revealed since a seasoned mechanic just does not act as childish as this guy has unless there are other motivations.

…or he could just be honestly swayed by what the full teardown revealed.
BTW- is there anything new of Munro getting sued for not giving the horrific report he was paid to produce for the German industry?

I do trust people, who are able to change their mind, when facts prove them wrong.

This characteristic is far too rare these days!

Positive critique is always welcome when you are in the business of continual improvement. Mr Munro deserves a signature bottle of Teslaquilla when it becomes available.

So Munro just admitted his team has no idea what a Switched Reluctance Motor is? I really don’t think his company is qualified to give accurate reports on anything but gas cars.

And others have said that the Model 3 wasn’t his team’s first teardown of a BEV, either. The level of ignorance displayed in Munro’s first Model 3 teardown video was shocking. No doubt he is an expert on deconstructing and analyzing gasmobiles — at least, he has that reputation — but it seems he’s a babe in the woods when it comes to understanding the differences between gasmobiles and BEVs.

That said, I wouldn’t castigate him very strongly over not understanding what a switched reluctance electric motor is. Apparently even electrical engineers are still arguing over the implications of that, and over whether or not the Model 3 motor is truly a new type of electric motor or just a variant on an old one.

What is the main operational characteristic difference of a Switched Reluctance motor, and the other type of Synchronous Motor used in EV’s? (Just to see if you have any idea of what you are speaking about, since you’ve stated several times YOU KNOW SO MUCH MORE.) ..

Oh, and no verbal effluent please…. Just correctly answer the question.

Munro admitted that he didn’t fully understand some of the decisions made in the frame and body. He thought they were over-engineered. It is clear the that the ‘over-engineering’ is what makes to the 3’s crash rating better all other cars. 3’s are quieter and have excellent handling … this all points to excellent engineering by Tesla. The article was a mish mash of old amd new comments from Munro and either show misunderstanding or bias. The Model 3 is proving to have better safety, better performance, better efficiency, better OTA updates, better range, better tech, better warranty, and better looks than its putative competitors.

Don’t know where the hate comes from. I am sure Tesla is reading through these pages and maybe some out of the 227 ways are useful. Can’t find anything bad about it.

The hate here is just coming from pure fanboyism.

“So now that we’re all caught up, what are some of the improvements Munro would like to see? They seem to be mostly body-related. For instance, he believes parts of the steel and aluminum frame to be somewhat redundant. The battery pack sits down there and already adds strength and rigidity.”

And now we know the test results from NHTSA showing there is substantially lower probability to get injured in a Model 3 by an accident is the lowest ever tested, the extra (redundant) regidity makes perfectly sense to me.

Is Munro’s point of view rather in line with NHTSA ranking policy, saying the body only need to be strong enough to reach a 5 star rating?

Leaving the cabins structural rigidity to the battery casing itself, not only increase the probability of getting injured to the level of Tesla’s competitors. It also increase the probability of the battery cells to be crushed and put the wreck on fire, with the injured passengers stuck inside.

I appreciate Tesla’s approach to make safety a parameter of competition, and I think NHTSA should give that a push in stead of rejecting any ranking beyond the 5 stars.

Except that the NHTSA did not state that, Tesla did, once again getting ire from the NHTSA for overstating the results. The Model 3 received 5 stars and that is it.