Sandy Munro: How Tesla Gets To The $24,000 Car

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It’s time for another round of Sandy Munro Q&A videos. Yesterday, I shared three from TeslaCon Florida in which Sandy talked about how he went from being a big Tesla critic to a Tesla superbull, how rapidly Tesla innovates (“engineering at the speed of thought” is how he put it), and what he would choose as far as self-driving hardware. Today, I’ll stroll through a few more topics from that long Q&A session. (Note that I did not intentionally intend to film this, but when I discovered it was going to be an extended Q&A rather than a slideshow presentation, I jumped on the opportunity. Unfortunately, that is one reason why the audio quality is not ideal in these videos — though, I do think it’s better if you use Airpods or something like that.)

In the first video below, Nick Howe, President of Florida Tesla Enthusiasts and lead organizer of TeslaCon Florida, brought up something Elon Musk said on Tesla’s last quarterly conference call for shareholders — that Tesla was working on a platform that would be essentially half the cost of the Tesla Model 3 platform. Nick asked Sandy if he saw anything that would stop Tesla from achieving that cost reduction goal. Sandy’s first, initial, definitive response was: “No.” He then elaborated after a bit of laughter. That included notes on Tesla molds, the casting process, and even some exclusive tidbits.

Ryan McCaffrey, host of Ride the Lightning: The Tesla Unofficial Podcast, asked about the Cybertruck from a cost perspective and what that would allow Tesla to do in the pickup truck market. Sandy doesn’t see the Cybertruck as actually fitting into the pickup truck market — he sees the Ford F-150 Lightning more as the truck for that market. Regarding the Cybertruck, “To me, that truck will kick the daylights out of a market we don’t even have right now. And that’s a fact. It’s got its own unique market, and any car that can come out and have its own unique market will basically dominate it forever — unless they do something stupid. I think Tesla is going to make a ****load of money on the Cybertruck.”

He then also told the story of having a cast frame sitting on his floor for 15 years and trying to talk other OEMs into using them. He ran through some of the excuses he heard from those OEM executives. No one ever took him up on the suggestion. “15 years and nobody picked up on it, and then Tesla, I criticized them — I said ‘you’ve got 120 parts, it should be one’ — and the next thing you know, they made the change. How they do things and how everyone else does them — there’s no comparison.” Watch the video for more.

On to a second video. This is a shorter one that focuses on the Cybertruck’s body being stainless steel. Ryan McCaffrey used to own a DeLorean, and one great highlight of that vehicle was its stainless steel body. Decades later, the Cybertruck at last is a vehicle that follows in its footsteps. Ryan says, “It seems to me like nobody’s done a stainless steel car because it costs too much — material-wise — and it lasts too long. Would you agree with that, and that’s why we’re only now seeing Tesla do it with this tough, rugged Cybertruck?” Sandy gives a brief answer, including a note that he actually worked on the DeLorean a bit, but not the stainless steel portion of it. He doesn’t really answer Ryan’s question, but he expounds on the Cybertruck stainless steel exoskeleton and what he thinks of that.

We have a couple more pieces in this Sandy Munro series coming. Stay tuned!


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