IHS Technology is dismantling a Tesla S sedan, and started with the cabin and its electronics. IHS found an infotainment and instrumentation system custom-designed and built with state-of-the-art technology, as well as a supply chain methodology that more closely resembles Apple's build model for an iPhone or iPad than that of a traditional automobile maker.
"That’s a big difference between Tesla and, for the most part, the rest of the automotive manufacturer space. Most [car makers] turn everything over -- lock, stock and barrel -- to third parties," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services at IHS.
In the traditional model, a car maker would set certain parameters for its infotainment system, but then send it off to Panasonic, Alpine or Harmon to be designed and built using a long supply chain. Tesla, in contrast, designs the infotainment system and then sends it off to be built like Foxconn would build an iPhone for Apple, Rassweiler said.
Two NVIDIA Tegra processor modules are at the heart of the electronic components in the Model S, which "command a sizable price tag," according to Rassweiler. Here is a look at how they work.