Sandy Munro on Tesla and Other Electric Vehicles

By Gary S. Vasilash

Sandy Munro is a Tesla teardown artist.

“Teardown” as in Munro and his team at Munro & Associates taking apart Teslas—and other electric vehicles—and then carefully cataloging and assessing each element that goes into making an entire vehicle.

Munro brings to the activity a 30+ year understanding of what it takes to build a vehicle with best practices. And because he is deeply versed in things like design for manufacturing, he is able to identify where those best practices aren’t being performed.

While Munro had done extensive work on analyzing vehicles that have internal combustion engines, he says that that is behind him for the simple reason that he believes that electric vehicles are going to take a considerable portion of the new vehicle market.

He says that somewhat analogously to Moore’s Law in computing, there is Munro’s Law that has it that if 2022 has electric vehicles at 5% of the new car market, then it will be 10% in 2023, 20% in 2024, 40% in 2025, 80% in 2026.

Given the amount of money global OEMs are spending on developing battery production capacity, it seems that they don’t disagree with Munro.

One of the interesting things that has happened to Munro’s career is that whereas the suburban Detroit firm that he heads once performed its work in relative obscurity, some of the work that the company is doing—like his teardowns of the Model 3 and Model Y—have been put on a YouTube channel, which has led Munro to considerable fame or notoriety—depending on your point of view—particularly within the Tesla community.

On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Munro talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy and me on a variety of subjects, including his fame among nine-year-olds. Seriously. (Munro points out one reason why an increasing number of EVs will be sold is predicated on kids influencing their parents, and he thinks that OEMs who ignore the young do so at their peril.)

You can watch the entire show here.

Munro & Faraday’s Future

Will this design-for-manufacturing expert consultancy put Faraday on the road?

By Gary S. Vasilash

Sandy Munro, of Munro & Associates, has long been known in the Detroit area for his always relevant and sometimes strident analyses of motor vehicles. For the past few years Munro has become more widely known (and as much of a YouTube star as someone who does things like assess manufacturability and cost reduction opportunities can be) for his work on electric vehicles. He has become an expert on the ways and means Tesla produces its vehicles, which has resulted in Munro being a go-to for those who want to do a better job of execution.

But at the end of the day, he and his team are suppliers. And rarely do vehicle manufacturers talk about their suppliers.

After all, OEMs know everything. . .don’t they?

So it comes of a bit of a surprise that Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc., which revealed the FF 91 at the 2017 CES to much attention and levels of acclaim, has announced that it has engaged with the consulting firm.

Carsten Breitfeld, CEO of Faraday Future Global (yes, a different name than the aforementioned but part of the same outfit), announced, “We are excited to work with Munro & Associates, who has a tremendous amount of experience in the electric vehicle space and has a highly respected reputation within the industry.

“We are grateful to be on the right track in our production of the FF 91 Futurist and to have the support and opportunity to co-create our products and technologies with this esteemed firm.”

(Yes, the “FF 91” is now the “FF 91 Futurist.”)

Clearly Munro has gained significant traction in this space.

And the FF 91 Whatever-it-will-be-called-when-it-hits-production will be the better for that profound knowledge that Munro & Associates will bring.

Sandy Munro on Tesla, Three-Wheelers and Flying Vehicles

From a functional and executional standpoint, there is probably no one who is more well versed in Tesla than Sandy Munro, who established the lean design, engineering and manufacturing consultancy, Munro & Associates in 1988. The teardowns and analyses that he and his colleagues have performed on Tesla models have become the stuff of grist for the never-stopping mill that is a phenomenon since the vehicles started rolling out of the Fremont, California factory. Has there been an auto company’s products that has garnered more attention? It seems unlikely.

Obviously, once a vehicle has been completely disassembled and assessed, it isn’t the sort of thing in which it is possible to take for a ride.

Arcimoto three-wheeler. (Image: Arcimoto)

So on this edition of “Autolline After Hours” Munro talks about how he has acquired another Model 3. . .and this time he and company president Cory Steuben are going to take it on a road trip, where they will make a determination of everything from how the battery works in the winter of the upper Midwest to the heat of the southwest to how hands-off the Tesla FSD (full-self driving computer system) actually is.

In addition to which, Munro talks to “Autoline’s” John McElroy, “Autoline’s” West Coast correspondent Chase Drum and me about what he sees as what is likely to become a growing automotive trend: three-wheel vehicles, like the products developed by Aptera Motors and Arcimoto. Munro explains that these electric vehicles are highly efficient and enjoyable to drive.

What’s more, a couple days before the show GM’s Mary Barra, in a presentation for CES, revealed a concept, the Cadillac Halo, an electric powered, four-rotor VTOL craft. Munro, who has also done extensive work on aircraft, thinks that there is likely to be a proliferation of personal aircraft for commuting.

While this might seem to be something that will be happening in the Jetson’s future, Munro anticipates such transformations in transportation in a matter of years—a few, not many.

And about that Tesla test drive: Munro says that he’ll also take the opportunity to. . .eat a lot of hamburgers.

And you can see it—the show, not the burgers—here.–gsv