Automotive Engineering - June 2021 - 16

TEARDOWN
TITAN
COVER STORY
" We've torn
down their
EVs and
asked, 'Why
are there so
many cables?
Why are you
using an oldfashioned
inverter? "
The
primary aluminum casting for Tesla's 'octovalve' HVAC unit, derived from SpaceX technology.
Reducing weight, cost, complexity and time-to-market
are chief reasons customers seek out Munro. Among
the early viewers of Munro Live were two high-ranking
U.S. Army officers based in the Pentagon and focused
on R&D. Munro & Associates had seen its significant
chunk of business with the Dept. of Defense evaporate
in the wake of the 2013 federal budget sequestration.
The YouTube exposure helped them reconnect with the
military. " Next thing you know, about 50 percent of our
work [now] is defense-related, " Munro noted.
The growth in DoD business (which mandates a
dedicated, secure facility) prompted Munro to purchase
a 9,000-ft² building across the street from the
company's 47,000-ft² tech center and lab in Auburn
Hills, Michigan. It has also driven staff expansion. Since
March, 30 new engineers, technicians and support
staff have been added, raising the global company's
total to over 100. " And that's not enough to handle all
the projects we have going on, " Munro asserted.
EV analysis booming
Electric-vehicle teardowns and analysis currently represent
60-65% of the company's revenue. Munro expects
it to eclipse some of the defense and medical-industry
16 June 2021
business. Non-EV work is still significant; recently Munro's team finished
a study of four large-capacity diesel engines, for example, and is
evaluating Class-8 truck transmissions for a client. Electric motors and
batteries are an increasingly busy area of study, as are pumps of all
kind. Aerospace, marine and medical devices are ongoing benchmarking
and lean-design subjects. But electric propulsion and energy storage
are the big blips on the mobility world's radar.
" We've torn apart over 30 EVs; I'm only allowed to talk about the
ones we've done on subscription, " Munro explained. They include the
BMW i3; Tesla Model 3; Chevy Bolt (two or three teardowns) and
Tesla Model Y. Along with the vehicles, " we've done every electric
motor that's worth anything, " he said. On the to-do list are the
Porsche Taycan motor, inverter and 2-speed gearbox. " The other motors
of interest are those in the VW I.D.3, which are made in China.
" We're probably going to buy an I.D.4 and do a full teardown because
some of our customers are interested in that, " Munro revealed.
In terms of what the team has learned, he says " there's not much
that we don't know. And we've pretty much costed everything. "
Some teardowns - such as the Model Y - have been completely
3D-scanned and the data entered into CAD. The primary customers
for Munro's reports include Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and " so
many Chinese automakers I can't count them, " he said. " That's who is
driving our profit, along with a tremendous number of Tier 1s. We've
had some sales in Europe, " Munro added. " But mostly the local
Detroit guys shun us - I think because we're honest with them.
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
LINDSAY BROOKE

Automotive Engineering - June 2021

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