Tesla Model 3 teardown verdict: Profitable, and a ‘symphony of engineering’

Build quality issues aside, Munro & Associates are hugely impressed

Reviews on the Tesla Model 3 have been mixed. Some praise the powertrain and battery technology, while others criticize the car's reliability and allegedly poor build quality. Munro & Associates managed to secure an early production Model 3, tearing the car down to bare metal in order to analyze the quality and profitability. While initially critical of the fit and finish — company CEO Sandy Munro called it one of the worst he had seen in decades — the car scored well in other areas, including profitability.

On an episode of Autoline with John McElroy, Munro breaks down his company's findings on the car. While Munro enjoyed the Model 3's driving dynamics, he was particularly impressed by the car's electronics. Munro said it's beyond what he's seen in teardowns of the Chevy Bolt EV. He praised Tesla's ability to create compact and clean circuit boards, cutting down on the amount of space and weight the electronics take up in the cars. He called it "a symphony of engineering."

Munro said the new battery was impressive as well. Munro & Associates opened up the battery, tearing it down to the individual cells. The new cells are 20 percent larger than before but offer 50 percent more power. Munro said Tesla now outshines both Samsung and LG when it comes to battery technology.

The big takeaway is that the Model 3 should be profitable, something that's been a struggle for automakers to achieve with EVs. Munro admits he was wrong about the car, initially thinking there was no way Tesla could make a profit on it. He said no other electric car is as profitable as the Model 3, something that should be a big boon for Tesla. Based on Munro & Associates' findings, the rear-view mirror on a Chevy Bolt EV costs more than $130 more than the mirror on the Tesla. Other components have a similar disparity.

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