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Sandy Munro Discusses Tesla Manufacturing with Elon Musk on Third Row Tesla Podcast

During a recent episode of the Third Row Tesla podcast, Munro & Associates CEO Sandy Munro joined the Third Row Tesla team along with special guest, Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

During a recent episode of the Third Row Tesla podcast, Munro & Associates CEO Sandy Munro joined the Third Row Tesla team along with special guest, Tesla CEO Elon Musk. You can listen to the full segment here:

It was a dynamic discussion full of some great tech specs, a revel from Musk, notable quotes from Munro and a lively conversation. Musk kicked-off the discussion by sharing his thoughts on the most significant changes in the Model Y. According to Musk, the top two are not consumer facing, although Tesla drivers value their benefits.

The first was the Model Y’s heat pump design with the Octovalve, which enables the Model Y to operate as efficiently as the Model 3 even though it is 10% heavier. He also shared that there was a fundamental paradigm shift in the design of the cooling circuit. This “next level” design applies the concept of a printed circuit board to cooling circuits to enable a very complex heat exchanger that you could not achieve with traditional approaches. He also highlighted the local heating loop design, which is critical in lower temperatures when most heat pumps fail.

Musk also highlighted the Model Y’s rear underbody casting, which differs from the Model 3. The way he explained it, the Model 3 is a like a patchwork quilt, which adds “insane” complexity in the body shop. Tesla adjusted this approach with the current Model Y, which has two, big high-pressure aluminum die-castings that are joined with other bits. Later this year, Musk hopes to move to a single piece casting that integrates the rear crash rails. Interestingly, this transition requires the world’s biggest casting machine – and Tesla has two of them! They’re starting to set-up the first machine next month and anticipate this transition to have a number of positive impacts, including reduced cost and a 30% reduction in the size of the body shop.

The conversation then moved onto the Cybertruck and its exoskeleton design that, according to Musk, “looks like CGI in real life.” Munro’s a fan of the truck, as well as the exoskeleton concept, in fact he has actually designed an airplane with an exoskeleton design, but the stylists “wouldn’t go for it.” Check out 15:45 mark for how Munro sums this up with the “car, career” expression.

The group then moved on to discuss the automation evolution and the top mistake of engineers: optimizing something that shouldn’t exist. Munro offered a nice example to highlight this point using a battery tray his shop worked on in the past.

Musk then addressed a question about factory improvements and he shared that each factory is an improvement over the last, although it’s not just about cost and simplifying. He then announced the new Berlin Color Lab, which offers the capabilities to apply three layers of paint to add dimension. This is being done in Berlin for the first time.

At this point, the conversation switched to Munro. He admits that he didn’t always love EVs. He only did the Model 3 teardown because a customer backed out of the project and Munro had already purchased the vehicle. He decided to still do the teardown and try to sell the reports, which he now considers a divine accident.

The panel then asked why more of the legacy automakers are not doing more with EVs and Munro suggested this is because they don’t think the change is necessary and they don’t take EVs seriously. According to Munro, the only serious contender has been the BMW i3, but the car was too ugly and had no marketing support. Then there was the Chevy Bolt, but he feels that was basically an expensive Spark. According to Munro, no one is serious about catching Tesla.

The conversation ends with a discussion about the need and importance of cultural change among legacy carmakers. According to Munro, this is 10% technology, 90% psychology. The technology part is easy but the psychology is more difficult. Automakers need the tools, training and time needed for cultural change.

Check out the full conversation – available here: – for full details. You can also learn more about the Third Row Crew members via the below links:

Interested in more? Visit for full details about Munro’s Tesla Model Y discovery process. This site will offer regular insight from Sandy, interactive data and reports, and livestream from Munro’s headquarters. Also, please consider Sandy’s suggestion for how to pay it forward during these challenging times. Together we have the ability to make a difference!


Al Steier and Munro mechanics standing around looking at the underbelly of the Tesla Model S Plaid
Under the hood of the Tesla Model S Plaid

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