How the Tesla Model S is made
Engineers at the HIS automotive research firm have stripped down a Tesla Model S to reveal exactly how the high-end electric sedan is made. Unsurprisingly, when they dissected the car they found the design, components and manufacturing process has more in common with a smartphone or tablet computer rather than a conventional car.
“It’s like looking at the components from the latest mobile device from an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy product,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director for materials and cost benchmarking at IHS.
According to Rassweiler, the manufacturing of the Tesla Model S is a far cry from conventional methodology used by other automakers. “The cost structure of the electronics, the use of large displays in the cabin, the touch-screen-based controls, the mobile microchips - everything in this design makes the Tesla experience more like a media tablet or high-end smartphone than a traditional automobile,” he said.
How Tesla’s manufacturing process differs compared to other automakers
For its analysis, IHS is dissecting each subsystem in the Tesla, including the air-conditioning controls, safety systems and powertrain. The teardown is ongoing, but already significant differences between the development of the Tesla and other vehicles have been uncovered.
Infotainment system: The big 17-inch display and touch screen is much larger than the average automotive infotainment interface. It uses an NVIDIA Corp. Tegra 3, 1.4-gigahertz quad-core processor, which generates the same computing power of the latest smartphones and tablets. Typically the automotive industry is years behind the technology sector when it comes to technological development.
According to IHS the major module or ‘head unit’ of the infotainment system is extremely complex with more than 5,000 discrete components. It is also the most expensive example IHS has come across at approximately double the cost of the highest-end infotainment systems used by other luxury automakers.
Display and touchscreens: The display and touchscreens in the Tesla Model S are extremely high-end and the company has spared no expense. Similarly, the screens also are the most expensive part of an iPhone or iPad, Rassweiler noted, adding that Tesla was using the pricey parts because it wanted to present a mobile device-like interface for the driver.
“The company really wanted to do things differently and employed virtual controls - rather than physical knobs and buttons - to take over the user experience,” Rassweiler said. “This approach required a major investment in big displays and touch panels.”
The Model S display is 10 inches larger than the typical screen sizes seen in other cars. It is manufactured by TPK Holdings, which also has supplied touch-screens for Apple.
Electronics: Unlike most automotive manufacturers Tesla has also conducted its own design and engineering work on most of the vehicles’ electronics. Many of the printed circuit boards in the head unit and instrument cluster have the Tesla Motors label. Most automakers purchase similar electronic parts from suppliers such as Alpine, Harman and Panasonic, Rassweiler said.
Tesla’s approach provides more control over the costs and sourcing of parts. Tesla designs the circuit boards and likely has an electronics parts contractor build them. This is a strategy employed by smartphone or tablet sellers. Apple, for example, keeps tight control over its iPad and iPhone designs, while outsourcing the assembly to EMS companies such as Foxconn.
The Model S starts at about $71,000 and can reach in the region of $100,000 depending on specifications and additional extras.
Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the car would soon be available with an all-wheel-drive system and additional automated safety features. The company also plans to offer a high-performance version of the car that will start at $120,000. With a combined 691 horsepower from two electric motors, Tesla says the car will surge silently from 0-to-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. We cannot wait to get under the bonnet of that one.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.