Elon Musk and Sandy Munro discussed the complexities and intricacies of the Tesla Cybertruck’s production line in the latest episode of the Third Row Tesla podcast. The podcast brought together Musk and Munro for an exciting interview about Tesla, EVs, and the auto industry.
Third Row Tesla’s Sofiaan Fraval asked surprise guest Elon Musk about the mass production of the Cybertruck--expected to start in late 2021. According to Musk, Cybertruck production should be smooth. However, he also shared that sometimes things can become more complicated as they progress.
“In theory, Cybertruck should be easy. I want to make sure that that theory actually comes to reality because it’s possible to make anything complex—you know…I mean complexity is the devil, fighting that is very difficult,” said Elon Musk.
Musk did name one complexity that could arise during the Cybertruck’s mass production, related to the pickup’s exoskeleton. An exoskeleton like the Cybertruck’s had been suggested to other automakers in the past—which Sandy Munro attested to during the podcast interview—but only Tesla had the guts approve it for production.
When it comes to the Cybertruck, an engineer would need to reconfigure their thinking because an exoskeleton design has yet to make it to an actual automaker’s production line. As Elon Musk pointed out: “In theory, the Cybertruck should be straightforward from a body standpoint. But it does require the vehicle engineering to kind of refactor their thinking to an exoskeleton instead of an endoskeleton approach.”
Sandy Munro believes the exoskeleton approach could work, and his company—Munro & Associates—has recommended it to automakers in the past, but none of them ever approved the suggestion. According to Munro, car stylists didn’t like the idea.
Munro &Associates suggested an exoskeleton for an airplane because the company found many benefits to the approach. Munro ticked off all the possible benefits to Tesla’s exoskeleton approach, including:
Third Row member Omar Qazi posed a question to Elon Musk about automation in Tesla’s Gigafactories. Musk’s reply may have hinted the direction Tesla could take with the Cybertruck’s production line. From his response, Tesla could opt to find a balance between automation and manual labor. The company may also decide to remove parts as they continue to improve Cybertruck production.
“You have to understand; it’s not like everything’s manual, or everything is automated. There’s like a whole lot of robots and a lot of people. And depending upon what portion of the production process you’re looking at, it’s either going to lend itself to a lot of automation or lend itself to a lot of manual work
“And then over time, you’re able to take some of the manual stuff and automate that or ideally delete the part, delete the process. Then you don’t need a robot or a person. I can’t emphasize that enough. That is the absolute thing to aim for. In fact, [I would say] the number one mistake of star engineers is optimizing a thing that shouldn’t exist,” said Elon Musk.
Sandy Munro drove Musk’s point even further when he said, “That’s precisely what we tell our customers all the time.” The expert auto consultant emphasized the importance of reducing the number of parts in a vehicle during the concept phase to everyone participating in the interview.
Credit: Third Row Tesla/YouTube
Sandy Munro seemed to agree with most of the points and thoughts Elon Musk shared about the mass production of the Tesla Cybertruck, which bodes well for the pickup truck’s assembly line. Munro seems to be supportive of the Cybertruck. He ordered five of them.
Munro told Elon Musk that Tesla created a whole new market with the Cybertruck. He called the CYRTRK a perfect sports vehicle for a person like him, who goes hunting and spends time outdoors.
Munro’s opinion of the Cybertruck was not the overwhelming majority when it was unveiled. It received mixed reviews, even from the Tesla community, mostly due to its design.
But Elon Musk didn’t seem too concerned about how the Cybertruck looked. Musk said he cared more about how the product moved people’s hearts and how the Cybertruck could influence other automakers to take a step into the present.
“A lot of times these trucks, it’s like, ‘okay, who’s got the most badass truck. Well ours is not even a truck. It’s a fri@#!in’ tank from the future,” he said. It seems like the future is now, and Tesla is ready to meet it head-on.
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