An engineering firm tore down a brand new Tesla Model 3 and discovered a shocking lack of build quality.
“Not since the ‘70s” has there been a car with a worse build quality than the new Model 3 from Tesla, according to Sandy Munro, CEO of Munro and Associates. The company specializes in tearing down and reverse engineering products to see exactly how they’re made. They’ve torn apart everything from cars to rice cookers and recently partnered with Autoline to see how a Model 3 stacks up.
In short: not very well.
"This thing is a miserable job," Munro tells Autoline’s John McElroy. Without even having disassembled the car, Munro was able to point out more flaws on the Model 3 than cars from the early ‘90s, and some of them were quite dangerous.
As Munro explained, in the event of an accident the driver or emergency responders might need to cut the car’s power in order to save the car’s occupants. The main power conduit is located under the hood, as is standard in electric cars, but popping the hood isn’t simply a matter of hitting a button.
In order to access the hood, one must first pop a small panel on the front of the car. "Inside there's two cables,” Munro explains. “You have to pull those cables out, you have to have a set of jumper cables, and you have to have a 12-volt battery so that you can connect to the two leads." On then will the hood’s latch pop open.
It doesn’t end there. Munro also expressed concern for first responders that have to cut open the car to access the occupants, noting that firemen won’t know where active wires are that could potentially electrocute. "I'm certain lawyers are going to have a field day with this kinda stuff."
Curiously, the Model 3 has manual door handles in the front of the car, but only electronic openers in the back, meaning if the car loses power the rear occupants are trapped. "I guess the kids don't matter,” Munro noted.
But it was the build quality that Munro expressed the most frustration over. He noted that the windows seemed to rattle inside the panel despite having an obvious excess of sealing material in the frame. Pointing out one such flaw, Munro said, "This is an afterthought or something...You’re not supposed to just glue on another piece. Usually, you take whatever’s wrong and pull it out and put another one in...Geez, I never saw that before."
The car’s panel work had frequent gaps and inconsistencies, showing a clear lack of manufacturing quality. "The tolerance stack-ups on this car are just, like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Not since... the ’70s or something."
"I don’t understand how it got to this point. These are flaws that we would see on a Kia in the ’90s or something...I can’t imagine how they released this. It’s just a surprise. A really big surprise for me."
Check out the video below, and maybe think twice before shelling out for a Tesla. At least, for now.