Tesla Model 3 Teardown Reveals Electronics Years Ahead of Toyota, VW

Nikkei Business Publications’ recent teardown of Tesla’s Model 3 vehicle has revealed electronics technology far ahead of the industry giants like Toyota and Volkswagen, especially the company’s integrated central control unit, or “full self-driving computer” also known as Hardware 3.


Hardware 3, Tesla’s biggest weapon in the thriving EV market, is believed to have the potential to end the conventional auto industry supply chain. One engineer from a major Japanese automaker examined Tesla’s module and declared, “We cannot do it.”

The module, which includes two custom, 260-sq.-millimeter AI chips was released last spring and found in all-new Model 3, Model S, and Model X vehicles. It powers the cars’ self-driving capabilities as well as their advanced in-car infotainment system:

There should be nothing stopping Toyota or VW from doing the same much earlier than 2025, considering their immense financial resources and vast talent pools. But technological hurdles are not the reason for the delay, according to the Japanese engineer who said “we cannot do it.”

The real reason for holding off? Automakers worry that computers like Tesla’s will render obsolete the parts supply chains they have cultivated over decades, the engineer said.

Although Tesla’s vehicles are currently classified as Level 2 or “partially autonomous” cars, Elon Musk has stressed that they have all the necessary components for full self-driving.