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Tesla Model Y fit and finish hailed as great improvement over Model 3

Release Date:2020-04-10

model Y teardown

Scrutiny of the Tesla Model Y by automotive engineering veteran Sandy Munro, of Munro & Associates, has begun, and the verdict is that – as an early stage vehicle – its fit and finish is a great improvement over the Model 3.

Munro will conduct a “teardown” – that is, a completely disassembly – of the Model Y in coming days, repeating a benchmarking process the auto expert similarly conducted on the Model 3 several times.

While the full teardown will focus particularly on drivetrain, electrical architecture, including wire harness and inverter/converter, and battery components, in a first impression video released on Wednesday (US time) Munro says he thinks that from the outside at least, the Model Y is in “great shape”.

“My first impression was that the car looked good,” he said in the video, which you can find at the bottom of this article.

By and large, there has been a great improvement compared to an early stage Model 3, says Munro.

“Both [front] doors are absolutely the exact same dimensions. Both top and bottom, front and back. This is in great shape.”

“The front door sills are a little bit out, they’re out by about a millimetre. What a vast difference from the [gaps] I could stick my fingers on the 3.”

That sounds about right; since the Model Y is 3/4 based on the Model 3, it makes sense that in the front half of the vehicle, assembly lines should have this down pat.

It seems, however, that for the rear half of the Model Y body, there are still some issues, particularly around the lift-gate panel gaps – a problem that plagued the Model 3 and drew criticism as Tesla grappled with assembly line issues in its early ramp up days.

At the top of the lift-gate on the fascia side, there are significant gaps of 1mm on one side and 3.5mm on the other, says Munro. “That’s kind of a big gap,” he says.

Other gaps are not quite so significant, such as at the bottom of the lift-gate and next to the quarter panels with only a 1mm difference, and next to the tail lamps, the gaps are exactly the same at 4mm either side. At the roof however, there is a gap of 1.5mm which is more noticeable says Munro.

The worst gap is the where the tail lamps sit next to the body, says Munro. “These are out quite a bit – 3.5mm on one side and 6mm on the other. That’s not good and that’s something they’re going to have to work on.”

Additionally, Munro notes that the finish has a certain degree of roughness in some places, as if there is dirt underneath the paint.

There are clearly still some issues to be dealt with in Tesla’s assembly and paint shop lines, but overall Munro’s verdict is positive.

Coming from the auto engineering expert that slammed Tesla for its “miserable” Model 3 build quality in 2018, calling it a “Kia in the ’90s or something” talking to Autoline Network in this video, it’s a big improvement.

“I’m sure that they’ll start tuning things in just like they did with the Model 3,” says Munro. “For en early stage product this is pretty good.”

Readers will no doubt look forward to the imminent teardown of the Model Y, which among other things we expect will shine a light on the “supercharged” wiring harness we first reported on in July 2019.

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Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology, and has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability.

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