Tesla Model 3s bought by firm selling Tesla’s secrets: report

Tesla’s competitors want to know the secrets of the company’s Model 3 entry-level electric sedan, and they’re willing to pay more than $500,000 for them.

That’s according to a new report saying a Chicago-area engineering company has bought several Model 3s for about $100,000 each, from third parties.

Caresoft Global is pulling the cars apart, doing high-tech imaging scans and “selling data and technical insights to Tesla competitors — for upward of $500,000,” the Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 30.

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Production delays have beset the car — which starts at $35,000 — and only a few thousand Model 3s at most have so far been delivered to customers, and many of those have gone to Tesla employees.

“A shortage of Model 3 sedans has created a frenzy among curious competitors, Tesla enthusiasts and auto reviewers to get their hands on the electric car,” the WSJ reported (paywall).

“Investors and competitors are devouring any morsel of information.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the Model 3 in March 2016 but had not put the car — its bid for the mass market — into showrooms for public viewing until Jan. 13.

Along with tearing down Model 3s — which Caresoft purchased from early buyers for about $100,000 each — the engineering takes CT scans to make digital designs so companies buying the designs can do virtual simulations to gain insights into the Model 3, according to the newspaper.

Caresoft brought a Model 3 to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, and also to the Detroit Auto Show, the WSJ reported.

“For clients, Caresoft quietly offered test drives around downtown Detroit in a black Model 3,” according to the paper.

“After a day of meetings with auto executives, Caresoft chief executive Mathew Vachaparampil recapped at a hotel bar in Detroit the reception he received from leaders trying to figure out the magic behind the Model 3.

“He said 10 auto makers are customers.”


Photo: People look at the Tesla Model 3 at a Tesla showroom at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto on Jan. 13, 2018 (Ethan Baron/Staff)


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  • Dale Smith

    Musk has them where he wants them. His goal has always been to hasten the move to sustainable transportation. He’s probably thrilled that the other automakers are finally getting serious about EVs.

  • Arthur Burnside

    This is utter nonsense. Tesla has no patented technoogy anyone would want. They buy their batteries, motors, etc from others and any company can do the same.
    The reason companies are buying these Model S cars is because that is ALWAYS the way a company tests their own vehicles against their target vehicle : they buy one from their competitor. Several weeks ago there were plenty of photos of exactly how these Teslas will be used – at the Nurburgring, the prototype Porsche Mission e was conducting speed tests and cornering tests against a Model S they had purchased. German Porsche engineers are hardly likely to find any suspension technology of note in a Tesla. Actually, there are videos showing the suspension setup – you wouldn’t have to buy a car to see that. I’m amazed at how gullible Tesla fans are – they don’t seem to realize how simple it is to build an electric car, compared to the engineering required to build an ICE vehicle. Tesla is about to get hit by an avalanche of electric competitors – 20 from GM, 20 from Ford, 12 from BMW, 10 from Mercedes Benz, three from Volvo , and about 80 more from the other automakers. Tesla’s good reviews are due to the fact that it is an electric, not because it’s a Tesla – witness the reviews of the modest Chevy Bolt, GM’s first all electric , which was compared very favorbly with the Model 3, which , sad to say, has been getting a lot of criticism from buyers with respect to cheap materials and crappy build quality – even second attempts to correct have failed.
    Now we see that the Porsche Mission e will be using 350KW CCS protocol chargers to recharge twice as fast as Tesla chargers. ALL of the automakers already, or shortly will use the CCS protocol, leaving Tesla out in the cold. CCS chargers will cover the landscape, not be located 40 or 60 miles apart like Tesla Supercharger stations. Tesla is falling behind the EV technology (Porsche will install a two speed automatic tranny in the Mission e – something Tesla tried desperately to do when designing their Model S, only to fail miserably).
    By the time her competitors arrive on the scene Tesla’s Fed tax credits will be mostly, or all, gone, putting Tesla in the impossible position of having to sell their older, plain looking electric models at a $7500 price disadvantage. No wonder Elon Musk tried very hard to get the Fed tax credit eliminated.

    • Pluto is a Planet

      Buyers complaints about cheap built quality and materials—I haven’t heard this. Can you link me to such reviews? Everything I’ve seen and read say the opposite.
      Also you talk about how Tesla is falling behind, yet almost everything you’ve said about Tesla’s competitors is concerning the future. The far off future; years away (2020-2025+). Are you saying Tesla doesn’t have plans for the future lol? Do you really think their charging network is going to be stagnant now, they’re not going to keep improving their vehicles, and they’re not going to release new vehicles? Because the opposite is true. Tesla is speeding all these up.

      Anyways, there’s a few significant flaws about competitor’s offerings. Very few vehicles have any real details. There are very few carmakers concerning themselves with battery sourcing (which is necessary if there are going to be 100+ new EV models on the market lol). And last, there aren’t crazy plans to cover the landscape with CCS chargers as far as I’m aware. I know VW has ambitious plans but these aren’t solely dedicated to building charging infrastructure unfortunately.

    • Mr. Jones

      If it’s so easy to make an electric car, why did Toyota and Mercedes pay Tesla to develop their earlier EVs? The Model S and X have stolen sales from the upper tier of all the luxury manufacturers – I’m guessing that was fine with them too? And why didn’t Audi or BMW start their own equivalent of Tesla, if it’s so easy?
      It’s the same wishful thinking criticism every day – “Boy, as soon as the REAL automakers get into the EV game, Tesla is DOOMED! Just wait til 2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020, then Tesla is FINISHED!” In 2020 you’ll be saying “Just wait til Toyota comes out with solid state batteries in 2023, Tesla is DOOMED!”

    • Irwin C Gemlich

      I suspect that one of the major reasons that ICE car makers are so resistant to introducing EVs is because they have so much invested in conventional ICE tech and they still have more than a few buyers for these products. Why would they want to hire and retrain competent engineers to build EVs if they could avoid it. They don’t care what the public wants in a new car — they are much more concerned about what they will buy if they cannot find what they really want!

      Is Arthur Burnside working for the ICE auto makers? I suspect that he may be. He protests too much — about Tesla and Elon Musk. Developing competitive engineering design competence and fielding a team of qualified engineers is not an easy task. Conventional auto makers now have to divide their energies and resources between two different technologies — an additional expense and demanding challenge to intellectual assets. What Tesla has done is destroy their sizable investment in ICE vehicles by making them obsolete.

      Retooling to produce compelling and competitive technologically advanced EVs is forcing them to start over rather than continuing to do what they were doing yesterday! That is why EVs are considered a ‘disruptive technology’! Conventional car companies and men like Bob Lutz HATE Elon Musk and Tesla — mostly because Musk is so innovative! No one likes being inconvenienced — certainly not economically!

    • Pamela

      Arthur, you are either a fool or a Tesla short who is bitter about losing money. The first bit of your nonsense is about patents. Tesla intentionally patented the EV tech and then said anyone can use them. They did this so we don’t have a repeat of something like how Chevron and GM killed NiMH battery tech for EVs by patenting them and refusing to allow anyone to make NiMH EV batteries. Then you go on to say they buy their batteries and motors which is also laughable especially since there are public videos of Tesla’s factories making both batteries and motors. After your second sentence it’s not worth commenting on the rest of your delusional post. So which is it? Are you a fool or simply bitter about losing money from shorting?

  • omegatalon

    Sandy Munro on Autoline.TV reportedly has been doing a tear down of the Tesla 3 and reported that the Tesla 3 fails some basic quality control issues like the windows rattling in the door when rolled down and how Tesla essentially glued a piece of material to keep the driver side window from moving when rolled up as you can imagine the screams if this was any other brand of car.

    • Peter K

      They are likely tearing down one of the first produced, which are bound to have some problems.