2022 Mini Cooper EV First Impressions

2022 Mini Cooper Munro Teardown First Impressions

In this episode of Munro Live we were kindly provided a 2022 Mini Cooper EV for us to have a look at and analyze from an exterior perspective. Cory Steuben, President of Munro & Associates introduces a long time associate of Munro, Paul Lester, who guides us through his perspectives and even brings in an original Mini 1961 (originally called an Austin 7, or an offshoot thereof) to show some of the differences in design that has evolved throughout the years.

This 1961 Mini has a lot of aspects of Lean Design that he showcases, which made the car very cost effective and affordable in its time as well a cute British styling that made this iconic car what it is today. Paul points out that there is no secondary door panel, a basic locking opening system, sliding windows instead of a drop down design, and more. With a transverse engine making up 20% of the vehicle and the rest being passenger space, this is a design based in lightweighting and cost efficient design.

Cory then has a look at the new Mini Cooper EV and points out size difference pointing out how much bigger it is while still retaining a compact design. The wheel comparison between the two vehicles are massive with the original 1961 mini having only a 10 inch wheel and a tiny shift lever.

The general styling look is still the styling look of the 2001 model with minor changes. One thing that Munro doesn’t like is the fact that there is no frunk but instead looks like a converted ICE vehicle to EV look. However, this makes sense when looking at the general space in the vehicle which is tight to say the least.

Under the motor cover we find a low voltage vacuum pump that doesn’t have an advanced 1,2, or 3 box system for the brakes. It still has it’s standard ICE break system. There is a steel weldment that surrounds the inverter box – perhaps as a built in safety measure, but one we have never seen before in a vehicle.

Many other interesting points and findings are covered, but to learn them all, you have to watch the video below:

Sub-Zero vs Frigidaire – Unboxing & First Impressions

Frigidaire vs Subzero Munro Associates Comparison

In this new episodes of Munro Live we switch gears and look at consumer products, specifically comparing refrigerators from Frigidaire and Sub-Zero.

Cory Steuben, President of Munro & Associates first gives the viewers an overview of Munro’s diversity in benchmarking when it comes to various manufacturing sectors and reminds them that roughly 50% of what Munro does lies outside of automotive. Further to that he comments on our pricing but moves swiftly into introducing Adam Leech who then takes the viewer through his first impressions of the two refrigerators.

Comparing at packaging, country of manufacture, quality, handling and more.

Click below to watch the full episode:

EV Breakthrough Webinar Part II September 16

EV Breakthrough Part 2 Webinar September 16th 2021

Join Sandy Munro of Munro & Associates as well as Rick Walker, President of GAMA and SAMA, Albert Burleigh, Executive Director of EV Sales for Blue Bird Corporation, David Eyes, CMILT Director of Automotive Solutions at DiCentral, and Richard Doak, Technology Strategist for the manufacturing and automotive segment within the Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft for the EV Breakthrough webinar (Part 2) that will span everything from EV teardowns, EV Buses, Computer Technology in EV, and the direction of the EV market.

Hosted by Shawn McEwan, Director of Automotive Solutions at DiCentral, and Rick Walker, this EV Breakthrough webinar is a lead panel discussion with the group that will discuss and debate several of the hot topics in the Electric Vehicle space. Each of the speakers is an expert in their respective fields and have several years of perspective on where they see the industry going, from the small to the macro scale. Other topics discussed, will be industry 4.0 and JIT issues in the new EV world, the microchip shortage, traditional ICE manufacturers supply chain disruption, EV charging infrastructure, and the looming shadow of China who has started down the EV market path earlier than most of the world and how they will affect the industry and global demand.

Will traditional automakers fall behind and will local supply chains survive the transition to the electric vehicle space?

This is will be a thrilling discussion with some of the thought leaders in the electric vehicle space that you don’t want to miss. The EV Breakthrough webinar will be taking place next week on Thursday September 16th, 2021 at 1PM CDT – 2PM EST.

To sign up for the second installment of the EV Breakthrough webinar, follow this link to the landing page and secure your spot!

Electric Vehicle Breakthrough Continued | DiCentral Webinars

Ford Mach-E Wrap Up and Final Thoughts

Ford Mach-E Teardown Wrap Up Munro

In this episode of Munro Live, Sandy Munro and Ben Lindamood take the viewers on a final overview of their thoughts of the Ford Mach-E after tearing it down and examining it. This episode has more than just a short overview of the vehicle, it covers some comparisons and charts not revealed in previous episodes.

Sandy and Ben first start off talking about their personal experiences with driving the vehicle. While Ben didn’t get a chance to extensively drive the vehicle, Sandy had chances before and after the teardown, thanks to Chris Billman, Chief Engineer of Ford Driver Assist Technologies, who took Sandy on a tour of the highway using the BlueCruise self driving feature. As previously noted though, Sandy still believes that the BlueCruise technology is still 6 or more years behind Tesla and that there are upcoming Chinese companies that will give rise to future competition due to their technology being more superior than what Western companies are giving them credit for.

One of the best parts of this episode is where Sandy shows a chart comparing several important attributes of the various electric vehicles that we have analyzed recently. The emphasis (in this episode) is drawing comparisons to the Ford Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, and the Tesla Model Y as it relates to Battery size, efficiency, and range compared to vehicle weight and drag co-efficient. This is chart points out many of the reasons we think that the vehicles get the performance that they do and point out some interesting points for improvement – but you are going to have to watch the video to get all of the good stuff.

One of Sandy’s main points is really how important an issue weight is with a vehicle, and although these electric vehicles have to take on more weight to improve their crash worthiness and safety, protecting the batteries and the occupants, there is a lot of room for improvement.

The episode goes on to talk about the body-in-white and crash safety of the Ford Mach-E which is very good as well a many places that Ford can improve on their vehicles.

To watch the full episode, click below:

KIA NIRO Wrap UP and Surprise Clip

KIA NIRO Wrap up discussion with Sandy Munro

In this wrap up video, Sandy and Cory discuss their final thoughts regarding what they have found in the KIA NIRO.

The discussion starts off talking about how Munro received the vehicle which was given by the people at KIA through their press relations people but in a way where we can still be impartial about our observations and therefore uphold our unbiased integrity. This opportunity is afforded to us simply by the fact that our notoriety has increased and we no longer have to rent the cars ourselves.

Sandy starts off by pointing out how the general feel and build of the KIA NIRO has a 90’s feel, but that is not a detraction from it – it’s just not what we expected to find on an electric vehicle.

Sandy however does like several things, like it’s intuitive interface for the infotainment, shifter and IP controls in general. Sandy especially likes the fact that the charging port is located at the front of the car which makes it easy to pull in to a parking spot for charging.

The one major detraction that we have for the KIA NIRO is that it was clearly made to be all things to all people – an EV, ICE, and Hybrid body design. While this makes it versatile from the manufacturing perspective and is a “safe” move from the OEM’s side, it doesn’t allow for a lot of innovation because you have to keep the broad strokes of the design to meet all criteria. That being said, Sandy was still impressed with the AC pump integration with the front motor.

There is some funny dialogue between the Sandy and Cory in the episode, but you should definitely stayed tuned to the end for something really different. We can honestly say that we have never had someone write a song about us, but Mark Frohnmayer CEO of Arcimoto has sent us in a wonderful song that we then put a montage to. We can’t thank you enough and we are blessed to have such great customers and awesome viewers such as yourselves!

We also want to remind our readers that we are looking to hire more electronics, electrical and battery engineers. If you are interested please send your resume to HR@leandesign.com. Visit this link to view job openings: https://munrolive.com/opportunities

To watch the full video, click below:

KIA NIRO Hoist Review With Sandy

KIA NIRO Hoist Review Munro Associates

Sandy is back in this next episode of Munro Live and he is having a look at the undercarriage of the KIA NIRO. The first thing he points out is that unlike many other EVs we’ve had a look at, this vehicle has a huge motor in the front end. Sandy’s explanation is that because the KIA NIRO was made to be a compatible body design to accommodate it being an, EV, Hybrid, or and internal combustion engine vehicle, it already gave them the space to put the main motor up-front.

Because there is so much space under the hood, KIA made a really interesting design choice that Sandy likes, where they put the AC pump inline with the electric motor, which balances shake and is more efficient. This also allows it not have to have a separate isolation and to have only a single line coolant hose which Sandy gives them a big star for innovation.

Sandy then moves further back to the half-shafts which are attached to an offset transmission as opposed to inline which we find on several other EVs. As Sandy points out, the KIA NIRO is a vehicle made for your average person and perhaps even a timid driver, not a speed demon or an off-road enthusiast. But in that vein, Sandy does find a few interesting choices such as designing out a tusk that would tear the wheel off in a SORB test or similar crash, and instead putting a LOT of iron behind the wheel in the longitudinals/rockers.

Looking back at the battery box, Sandy points out that they used friction-stir-welding to attached the bottom plates to a plate or channel above it perhaps separating the batteries. However, at other points they used TIG welding to other bolts which is a mystery to Sandy why they would do that. This leads Sandy to another mystery object which appears to be some sort of access panel at the bottom of the battery pack.

Sandy goes on to identify some other interesting features such as the spring being separate from the shock instead of over it because there is a lack of room. To accommodate for that they created a massive stamped lower control arm. The video carries on to explain some dampening characteristics and part alignment features. Sandy and the team remark that there are many design choices that remind him of 90’s, but not in a bad way, it’s just interesting to him to find those design choices in an EV.

To watch the whole video, click below:

Taking The KIA NIRO For Test Spin

KIA NIRO Ride and Drive with Cory Steuben

In todays Munro Live episode, Cory Steuben takes the KIA NIRO out for a ride and drive through various terrain on his way home. Cory first points out that he likes the feel of the wheel and the interior of the KIA NIRO including the fit, finish, and quality of the vehicle.

One of the things that is different about the KIA NIRO is that the shifter is a knob where you turn it to put the vehicle in either reverse, park, or drive. Cory is a fan of doing things different, so this break from the norm is a positive in his books. Another added feature is that the car will make a beeping sound as you back up, similar to a truck.

Cory begins the ride and drive explaining that he endeavors to cover some features that are not covered in other videos. Munro in general takes a different approach to our analysis of vehicles which he explains in the video. We have done analysis and teardown of several hundreds of vehicles over the past two decades. What you see us cover publicly on our channel only represents a fraction of vehicles that we analyze on a regular basis.

An interesting point that Cory covers on the KIA NIRO, as well as EVs in general, is that the increased weight given to the car by the battery system, also give the vehicle a lower center of gravity which makes a tremendous difference in driving feel and handling.

The video goes on to cover things like cruze and driver assist, the intuitiveness of the internal features including infotainment, how it navigates highway, side streets, and even rough dirt roads. It will cover what it feels like drive and what you can reasonably expect from using it in a utilitarian way.

Also, we would like to announce to our viewers that we are hiring at Munro for 10 new positions. If you are interested please send your resume to HR@leandesign.com. Visit this link to view job openings: https://munrolive.com/opportunities

To watch the full episode, click below:

KIA NIRO EV: Sandy’s Impressions

Sandy Gives His Opinions On a KIA NIRO EV

In this episode of Munro Live, Sandy has been given a KIA NIRO to evaluate. Sandy first points out that the the vehicle definitely has a Korean look – that almost looks angry. That being said, for it’s target audience, that is just fine. Sandy’s general opinion of the vehicle is that it is a decent car and seems to have reasonable features. However, although utilitarian and functional, nothing completely stands out on this car.

From a Fit, Finish, and Quality perspective, KIAs used to be terrible, but now are excellent, including beating some luxury cars that we have benchmarked them against. The gaps that are noticeable on the doors are relating to design of the doors and are a choice.

Sandy’s first ding against the KIA NIRO is with the rear hatch not having an assisted open and close feature. Instead the NIRO is relying on you to manually open and close the hatch. Sandy is equally unimpressed with the trunk, especially the under the panel that is designed too small.

Sandy is happy with the KIA NIRO simple interior and the space is good. The doors also have a solid closing feel. He is especially happy with the infotainment system – showing the map right away. Instrumentation is simple and easy, if not dated. Sandy also likes the mirror configuration.

Sandy goes on to talk about the KIA NIRO charging port placement and the frunk… or lack thereof. KIA created a platform such that you can make the vehicle an EV, a Hybrid, or even an internal combustion. A one-size-fits-all solution. But to hear what Sandy’s opinion is, you will just have to watch the video. If you are a KIA fan or are looking to purchase this vehicle than this will be a good video for you:

Sandy’s Rant: Tesla AI Day + NHTSA & Congress

Sandy shames NHTSA and Congress for investigating Tesla

In this very heated episode, Sandy delivers a impassioned speech about his thoughts regarding the investigation on Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance systems, also known as Autopilot, by NHTSA which has been spurned on by Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

Sandy is not one to mince words and this videos showcases exactly how much disdain he has for anyone, whether government or not, who impedes progress and technology – especially when the reasoning is flawed or misleading.

Watch as Sandy shreds detractors of Tesla’s autopilot or their battery safety. A sobering, but also entertaining watch:

Sandy Goes For a Drive Using Ford’s BlueCruise Technology

Sandy tries out Ford Mach-E trying out it's BlueCruise hands-free driver assist technology

In today’s episode of Munro Live, Sandy takes a cruze in the Ford Mach-E trying out it’s BlueCruise hands-free driver assist technology, which allows the driver to navigate 130,000 miles of pre-qualified highways throughout the country. This is Ford’s first move into truly autonomous driving where the driver isn’t required to keep their hands on the wheel unlike FSD or Autopilot.

Sandy is accompanied on this trek with Chris Billman, Chief Engineer of Ford Driver Assist Technologies, who gives an explanation of all of the benefits and features of this capability.

If you want to know all of what this technology can do and to see Sandy’s reaction to this awesome technology, click below to watch the video: