Auto industry lean design expert gushes over Tesla (Video)

  • Published on April 9th, 2019

The weekly “Autoline After Hours” show from the Detroit area recently invited Sandy Munro back to talk about Tesla in China. Munro was once one of Tesla’s most ardent skeptics, when he famously compared the Model 3 build quality to a “Kia from the ’90s.” After spending some more time tearing down the Model 3 and learning more about it, Sandy warmed to the company and had much more complimentary things to say about the company, including calling the Model 3 electronics “Like a Symphony of Engineering.”

Tesla Model 3 factory


In October, Munro and Associates tore down a second Model 3 and he criticized the body for being over-engineered but also stated that it could be built for under $30,000, allowing Tesla good margins, even on the $35,000 car.

This year, Sandy has continued to speak about what he has learned from tearing down two Tesla Model 3’s. He states that the car has “military-grade” electronics, summarized why electric motors are so superior to those of the competition, and highlighted Tesla’s electric motor leadership: “They’ve got magic, the electric motor is smaller and lighter than the competition, but outperforms everybody.”

In this week’s video, Sandy starts off talking about his trip to China. I documented the things that caught my ear in case you don’t have 90 minutes to listen to the whole video.

  • 6:00 — He talks about his two new reports on the cost to build the Tesla Model 3 in China. He also mentions the special relationship in China with Chairman Xi, where Tesla got land, assistance with building the factory, and special citizenship. Tesla is also the only foreign company that has been allowed to build a car factory without a domestic partner.
  • 12:00 — Munro mentions that Chrysler and more recently Toyota bought his Tesla research, but GM and Ford have not.
  • 13:00 — He mentions, “Nobody has electronics like Tesla.”
  • 14:00 — Tesla is dropping from 1.8 km of wire in the Model 3 to less than 100 meters of wire. That is only enough for power wire, so communications has to be wireless
  • 15:00 — He trusts “Tesla software more than anything else.”
  • 16:00 — Most big companies in China are interested in his reports.
  • 17:00 — Tesla’s vertical integration saves it from giving up profit to suppliers.
  • 18:00 — “If you aren’t creating the motor, battery and circuits, you aren’t a company, you are a reseller. … They have wicked smart engineers.”
  • 20:00 — “Their engineering is to die for.” It’s turned into a money machine for Sandy, providing info on Tesla. He’s amazed at how many people want to know about Tesla.
  • 21:30 — Sandy mocks financial analysts, saying he knows the analysts that claim they know cars, and he knows they haven’t torn apart in a car.
  • 23:00 — He thinks they can build a factory in a year in China that would take 2 to 3 years in the US.
  • 25:00 — CATL, Panasonic, LG, and others building huge battery factories in China.
  • 27:30 — Tesla circuit boards have antennas all over their boards. China is working to catch up to Tesla. GM and Ford don’t realize how far behind they are.
  • 30:00 — He talks about how China incentives are going away.
  • 43:00 — He has been to China 6 times and every time he has been surprised and impressed with something.
  • 44:00 — He forecasts there will be no new gas engines released after 2021 or 2022. “If you are an engine engineer, you better be in trade school at night.”
  • 48:00 — Toyota is releasing 24,000 EV/hybrid patents, but he implies that it’s a Trojan horse. If you waste time looking at Toyota’s patents from 5 years ago, you are wasting time.
  • 51:00 — Tesla’s motors are the lightest, most efficient, and most powerful.
  • 55:00 — “I was shocked at the performance of the Model 3!”
  • 57:00 — “I used to race cars, and if you want to go fast, you want an EV.”
  • 58:00 — “Tesla technology is VASTLY different than everyone else’s.”
  • 60:00 — “Elon is the only hero in the US.”
  • 62:00 — Motor Trend journalist says “Teslas are stunning to drive.”
  • 64:00 — Tesla builds cars that blow people away with drive quality and “bewitching” features.
  • 65:00 — Sandy says “If I was 35 or 25, I’d buy a Tesla for the thrill of driving.”
  • 69:00 — Super bottle integration of heating and cooling of everything is brilliant.
  • 78:00 — “Tesla has kicked the European manufacturers in the ass, what they have accomplished is extraordinary.”
  • 86:00 — Sandy said, “I don’t own any Tesla stock, but I think they will be a real winner.”


Like so many critics of Tesla, Sandy has come full circle. He started off being quite critical of Tesla’s build quality, but as he has spent the last year tearing down two Model 3’s, he has become more and more of a cheerleader for the company. The difference between Sandy and many other cheerleaders is he has a lot of data and unique insights based on decades of experience in the auto industry.

If you want to take advantage of my Tesla referral link to get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging on a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3, here’s the code: (but as I have said before, if another owner helped you more, please use their link instead of mine).

(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)

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