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!
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
In today’s episode of Munro Live, Sandy is absolutely blow away by the simple and Lean Design that the motor product design team has achieved on the Mach-E front Motor. From the contents of the gearbox to the rotor and stator, Sandy is impressed with Ford’s cost effective and elegant design.
With less bearings than the Tesla Model Y’s front motor the Ford Mach-E (while not having the same horse power) has a major cost and complexity advantage. The excellent and simple design of the differential made by Magna has a gears are machined in place of the forging and the design of the forged output shaft allows them to have an inline drive system.
The housing plate incorporates the ability to have the stator pressed in, which eliminates a lot of unnecessary bolts as commonly found in other motor designs. It also have grooved slots on the outside of the stator housing allowing coolant to flow around it which eliminates the need for oil, similar to the design found in the ID.4 stator housing. No filters, squirters, or extra pumps, just a simple effective solution.
Sandy goes into more depth on the rotor and it’s design as well the other parts of the drive train, electronics and connectors, the inverter (which Sandy is also very impressed with), and more but to find out what else he has to say about what he finds in this great design from Ford, you will have to watch the full video by clicking below:
In today’s episode of Munro Live, Sandy brings us up-to-date with what is going on at Munro. There has been a lot of movement at Munro, as you will learn, including Sandy working on several new product launches.
From electric vehicle customers to medical device and aerospace projects, this video will let our viewers in on what is transpiring at Munro including what to expect video-wise in the coming days including interviews with the Ford engineers on the Mach-E, the Tesla Model S, and other new project reveals.
In our latest video, Cory and Ben go over Mach-E’s Advanced Driver Assistance System, or ADAS for short.
Ben starts off by explaining that the ADAS version that Munro’s vehicle has is the Co-pilot 360 system, which is not yet a hands-free driving system, but when the updates come out it will be upgradeable to the BlueCruise capability.
From there Ben discusses the edge-of-roads camera systems that detect where the edge of the drivable space is in various environments including dirt roads or construction zones. This camera system also has blind spot assistance and intersection assist helping you to prevent lane changing into a vehicle in your blind spot as well as helping to better navigate intersections. The ADAS accomplishes all of this with 5 radar and a camera system including an ifrared camera which Ben also explains in more detail.
Ben then pulls up a chart from the SAE which describes the different levels of autonomous driving and describes that Mach-E is at Level 2 autonomy. He also explains that some level 3 vehicles exist, however, most of the ADAS systems that have been approved are Level 2.
From there Cory explains differences we have found between the Ford Mach-E and other vehicles we have analyzed, specifically Tesla as well as why Tesla has made certain choices from a business standpoint.
The latest episode of Munro Live covers Sandy Munro’s mockup of the VW ID.4 Battery prototype coming from the work we have done with Sabic.
In this episode, Sandy goes over some of the ideas behind creating a practical battery system that will work best for this vehicle, taking the best ideas and attributes of other battery systems we have analyzed.
From keeping the cooling system architecture of the ID.4 but instead building it into the new composite body of the battery housing to the connectors, borrowing load bearing and structural ideas from aerospace projects that we have worked on in the past, comparing larger battery cell designs that are glued to the battery box that actually provide more space for additions and more.