Episode Date: March 29, 2023
We sat down to chat with Cory Steuben, the president of Munro & Associates and co-star of Munro Live! on his recent trip to Lincoln, NE. We found out how he got his start with Munro & Associates, talk which batteries are best for economics vs. performance, dive into the current cost of EVs, and talk about Cory's time with Sandy Munro's crew.
Key Topics & Chapter Markers
0:58 Who is Cory Steuben
3:26 CES Stand Outs
9:37 What's in store for All Electric Family
14:25 EV Range Extenders
16:35 Batteries; Eco vs Performance
23:43 The Price of EVs
36:03 Cory’s Time at Munroe
50:00 Nebraska Roots
Mentioned In this Episode
Cory Steuben Twitter | https://twitter.com/CorySteuben
Munro Live Twitter | https://twitter.com/live_munro
Munro & Associates Twitter | https://twitter.com/MunroAssociates
Munro Live! YouTube | https://www.youtube.com/munrolive
Charged Rally | http://www.allelectricfamily.com/chargedrally
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Episode Full Transcript
Introduction: Welcome to All Electric Conversations, where we talk with pioneers and traveling with electric vehicles. We're your hosts, Katie and Steve Krivolavek of the All Electric family. From road trips and towing to daily life, we'll hear stories of wanderlust and progress to inspire your own adventures with All Electric Conversations.
Katie: Welcome to another all Electric Conversations Podcast. Today we are lucky enough to have Cory Steuben here with us. And he is from Munro and Associates, or Munro Live! You may have seen him on some of their YouTube videos and such. And we are lucky enough to have him in person because he is from Nebraska. We wanted to sit down and chat with him and talk a little bit about Munro & Associates and how a guy goes from Nebraska to president of Munro & Associates and a little bit about you.
Cory: Awesome. Yes. So where do you want to start? I'm from Lincoln, Nebraska.
Katie: Yeah, let's start there.
Cory: We are actually about a mile and a half away from where I grew up. So I grew up if you're from Lincoln and you're watching right by Mahoney Park. Okay, yeah. 74th and Colfax over there. But all my siblings still live here and they live relatively close. My brother lives in Waterford Estates, my sister lives over by Leighton, and my other sister lives on the other side of Leighton. Okay,
Katie: Yeah, all close.
Cory: I packed all my kids and my dog in my vehicle and I drove here for spring break because my parents, because of COVID, they haven't seen my young kids very often. So that's why I'm here. Yeah, but to answer your question, it's a long story of how I went from Nebraska to Michigan to be president of Munro. But essentially, I went to Michigan for engineering school. I studied at Kettering University, which is heavily tied to the automotive industry. And Munro and associates had co-ops. So Kettering has a co-op program where you have to work three months, school three months, work three months. And I happened to end up at Munro & Associates because my dad was a mechanic. And on my resume, I had all my mechanic skills. And Munro doing a lot of tear downs. They wanted to hire an intern. They didn't have to train how to use tools or worry about injuring themselves, taking stuff apart. So I ended up at Michigan for engineering school, ended up at Munro because my dad was a mechanic. And then I stuck it out. So 18 years at Munro and Associates, I kind of worked my way up the ladder. Did tons of consulting in other industries, aerospace, defense, and medical, a long stint in automotive. Then I shifted to management in 2020. And then the pandemic hit. And it was my idea to create Munro Live to get the word out about our Model Y teardown. We had already ordered a Model Y to do a tear down, and it showed up three or four days before Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, shut the state down. So we were able to film and release those videos kind of a few weeks after that, and we kind of caught the world's attention, and we've doubled and tripled down on that. And here we are. And we met in Vegas, right? CES? Yes.
Steve: So we do appreciate you inviting us to that. And so that was a lot of fun, you and your team and some other fellow YouTubers. And then we found out that you're from Lincoln, so that even made it better.
Cory: So what did you guys cover at CES? What was your favorite thing there?
Katie: Oh, gosh. I think for me, it was just the sheer number of electric vehicles that were there when we went. I don't think I was quite expecting there to be so many electric vehicles. You know, I was expecting more tech and that kind of a thing. And then if I had to pick one specific thing, I think it would probably be Magna and the heavy duty pickup truck drivetrain that they're working on because that is right up our alley with towing and everything. But I don't know if you had anything different than that.
Steve: No, Magna sticks out quite a bit to me. There was also, what was it, what was that new car that's coming out? I can't remember it's from Veitnam…
Cory: Vinfast VF8 & VF9
Steve: Yeah. And so that was interesting. Getting in that and riding in it definitely didn't feel like a lot of the new electric vehicles. And so just for me, it didn't feel like it was that great of quality and stuff like that. So most electric vehicles that I've been in have been really good quality, and so I've always assumed that that's what was always going to come to the market with electric vehicles, but to me, it wasn't that great, so.
Cory: Yeah. With the vinfast. Sandy and I actually went to Vietnam and tour of their factory. Nice. They have like a 9 million square foot factory. They're iterating really fast. So although people haven't been too impressed with the interior quality, fit and finish, some of the software functionality where they were at four to five years ago, essentially leasing BMW platforms and making internal combustion engine vehicles, that when based off like the X Five and the M Three, to now quickly abandoning that and switching to EV. And how when we were in Vietnam, we saw how fast everything was iterating there. So kind of like how people kind of discounted Hyundai and Kia in the 90s because they entered the market with less than ideal quality and really odd products that didn't really fit the American market. Some of the Hyundai and Kia products are absolutely world beaters now. They're very top mark, very top notch. So I'd say with Vinfast, give them three, five years and if they continue to improve at the pace that they've done already, they may actually make some products people might want in the United States.
Steve: Nice. And I know you guys were there at CES, and so can you explain what you guys were doing there?
Cory: Yes. So we attended CES before as attendees, and we'd walk around and whatnot before the YouTube channel and then after, so we went in 2021, and we stood in a booth for a connector company. It's called, Iriso. We stood in the booth, we said, hey, we're going to be in this booth. And we drew traffic to that booth, particularly for Sandy. Not for me, I'm just there. Sandy really is the star of Munro Live, and it works so well that the next year that connector company is like, hey, do you want to split the booth? And then you can have half the booth for yourself. So we did. And if you've ever been to CES, or if you've ever been to a show, it costs $200,000 for that booth and to send all the people, because just the square footage alone is $50 to $70,000 for the square footage. And that's just the cement. Then you have to use like union labor to set everything up and to rig all of the electronics. And we rented that screen was $15,000 to rent a ten foot by ten foot screen. And then we had like $5,000 worth of giveaways and we had tremendous traffic at the booth. We brought twelve people to work it, and we have a lot of leads from that. So although many people know us from the YouTube channel, we're an engineering firm, so we have probably a dozen leads where people came up and said, oh yeah, Munro, Munro Live. Oh yeah. And then now we're pursuing engineering projects with tier one, tier twos, smaller suppliers, and a few OEMs from CES. So there's the content creation aspect. We filmed a lot in the booth. Sandy was interviewed by one of the top YouTubers in man, I'm going to get this wrong. I don't even know. It was Eastern Europe. Yeah, okay. 2s Is George Bushini? I can't remember, but he has, like 3 million followers on Twitter and a million followers on his YouTube channel, plus a lot of other smaller YouTubers would interview Sandy right there. Like Ellie in Space, I don't know if you're familiar, and I was actually just interviewed on Ellie in Space, and that was released on Saturday, just yesterday. That was just like a Zoom meeting because she broke her leg recently. I don't know if you fall.
Katie: Yeah, I saw that. I was like, oh, yeah, rough.
Cory: We also walked around the show and did probably a dozen pieces of content. I got to ride in the MERCEDESBENZ. Was it not the MERCEDESBENZ EQXX. 1s Did you get around that?
Katie: Not in the Mercedes, no.
Cory: Yeah, so we did a piece on that. We did a thing with Texas Instruments Re. They make a corner module that's electrified. So it's always good to go to CES because then you're just in the know, you're around people, there's a lot of events and dinners. So was this your first time?
Katie: Yeah, it was kind of on a whim. We were like, we don't really fully know what it's about. You hear about it every year. We were like, but let's just go try it out. And so we did,
Steve: Thanks to you guys prompting us on our radar. It out and we're like, we should go.
Cory: I didn't realize we were the genesis for you coming. A lot of people go there no matter what. Yeah. So I just assumed you were going to be there.
Katie: And now we will be, because we did get a lot of stuff out of it and a lot of connections and stuff like you were talking about. And so we just were like, well, now this is going to have to be an every year thing. We had fun. Yeah.
Steve: You said there was a lot of stuff there, and that's accurate. A bit overwhelming in the beginning, and so we think we have an idea of what we need to do moving forward.
Cory: Yeah. So I want to know a little bit more about how you started your channel. So yeah, can you go through that? Is it 2018, 17?
Katie: Gosh, I don't even know. Well, yeah, probably because it was what I think we're yeah, coming on five years now, and we actually started, as we were called, Trail Less Travel when we first started, and we were really more RV centered. And, you know, we kind of had a thought of potentially one one day maybe like, going full time and living in our RV and traveling and documenting that, but life always just throws your curveballs and you go different ways. We figured out that we weren't going to be able to do that. We weren't going to be able to just take off and go. And so then 1s we knew we were going to have more local and close trips, and Steve had had a Model S previously and really wanted to go back to having a Tesla. And so he was like, I think we could tow with a Tesla. That might be kind of fun to do some videos on. So he was doing all the research. I was like, hey, if I get to drive a Model X, I'll let you tow with it. So then we started documenting that, and then that's when it really took off. INSIDE EV, started covering our stuff. Like, there wasn't really anybody towing with an EV at that point that was documenting it. And so then it's just kind of grown from there.
Cory: Yeah. And your channel has, what, a couple of million views? Two and a half million.
Katie: We're getting up there, so. Just continues to…it's really funny because we'll do the other stuff, and the other stuff is okay because when you're stuck in Nebraska in the middle of winter, you can't always be towing a camper around. But then we throw up towing with a camper again, and it just takes off,
Steve: Good or bad.
Cory: So you have your videos, you know, will do well. Yeah. And then you try other stuff that sometimes doesn't do as well.
Steve: Yeah. We've moved more into the education side of this more recently. Those seem to do pretty well. And I think it's definitely needed too. You know, just trying to bring it down to regular people's level, because I can talk about kilowatt hours and all this stuff all day long, but most of the time people don't really want yeah, I have much of that.
Cory: I have an idea for the two of you. Well, first of all, at Munro, we do something called an EV primer. So there's a lot of companies in Michigan suppliers, tier one, tier twos, OEMs that want to educate their engineers on what are EVs about? And we have a really deep knowledge because we've torn down, like, essentially over a dozen of them in the near recent past. So we charge anywhere from, I think, $7000 to $20,000 for a short half day course with lunch. And they love it. The feedback is really positive. They call it an EV Primer. It's a PowerPoint presentation. We go over all the ins and outs, the battery form factors, the layouts, the kind of insights that we've gathered. You could do a primer on towing, so, like an EV towing primer, but you could target it to dealerships. So, like, dealerships that sell trucks, where if they sell trucks and they want to tow, you could go give a course. Or, like, when they buy it, they could sign up. Yeah. And with your production capability, with the channel, you could actually record it in advance. Have you ever thought about doing yeah.
Katie: With actually. Well, we kind of are dipping our toes in a little bit. They said that they're sending schedules, so we're pretty sure we're on the schedule at this point. We just don't know when. But going actually to the International Airstream Rally and doing a talk on towing there. Yeah, with an EV. Towing with an EV and stuff. And so we're kind of dipping our toes in on getting courses and teaching people how to do it because there's not a lot out there on it yet.But that's a really good idea, especially like the dealerships and stuff, because even when you go to an RV dealer, sometimes they don't even know how to hook it up to a truck. Then you put an EV and it's a whole nother level. I mean, think about when we went to go pick up our trailer for the Model X.
Steve: Definitely a good idea, especially when you're talking about some of these people that don't really have a good inkling on what it's like to tow with electric vehicles and just be real with them. That's what we've always wanted to do with our community is just show them all of it, the good, the bad and anything in between. And then also give them tips on how to manage it too, because there is a lot of tips to be had with that. We have created a course, haven't released it yet, for a company just on EV road tripping and so that would definitely go along those lines too, and just do our idea is to do some webinars and things like that to get good and practiced with the whole EV towing aspect. So.
Cory: So one more question. So with all electric being in the name of your channel, what's your thoughts on EVs with range extenders? So, like Ram, Stalantis, whatever you want to call them, they're most likely going to release an EV that'll have a decent range, probably 150 or 200 miles of EV range with a range extender, which could make it up to 500 miles of range. Are you still going to dip your toe in analyzing that to compare and contrast it? Or is it like a religious thing? Like, no, EV only, because we get Lambasted when we'll take PH EVs, we get them as press vehicles and we'll look at the interior, we'll look at the exterior and we'll do reviews on them, like six or seven reviews. And people in the comments
are like, this isn't an EV. It's like, we're cheating on people. It's like, hey, give us a break. It's a free car, I drove it home. At least it's a free tank of gas because they drop it off. That is either fully charged or with free gas. So I'll take it home for a few days. But what's your thoughts on that? The range extenders?
Steve: Yeah, the range extenders, specifically. We'll definitely dip our toes in with that because, just like I've heard you talk before, these electric motors have been in big vehicles for a long time. They just have a diesel generator behind it. I'm pretty sure that's what it is. And so you got to try it. And we've even talked about doing some trips where an electric vehicle can't even really get to, but taking a generator, and I know we'll get the same thing, where it's like, well, you should have charged it up from the sun. It's like, oh, that would have taken two months. Because as technology evolves, those things are going to become easier and easier. But we still want to show how if you can take this electric vehicle and put it in places that infrastructure hasn't yet taken it, does that make sense? Yeah.
Cory: And we recently tore down a Hummer EV with that massive battery. So we may have videos to come on that. And I think it was like 2400 lbs. We had to make special accommodations. We had to buy a special metal table for the battery to sit on because the vehicle was so heavy. Our lift is a 12,000 pound lift. The vehicle is 9600 lb, the battery is 2400 lb. And we had to, like it was super complicated. Usually when we're dealing with, you know, Model 3 or the Ionic or the Model Y, it's not that big a deal when you're dealing with a 6000 pound vehicle, 1000 pound battery. But anyways, my point was, battery is huge and they're Lithium ion pouch style cells, which aren't that efficient from a gravimetric and a volumetric perspective. So Sandy and I have spent a lot of time reaching out to battery companies, particularly solid state battery companies, and we go, we interview the CEO, we get a tip factory tour. So we did Quantum Scape in San Jose, we just did Ses in Boston, and we met their CEO, Chichao Hugh You, and really impressive 450 watt hours per kilogram. And then Ampreus Company out of Fremont, California, just announced slightly over 500 watt hours per kilogram. Now, the reason this is important is for towing. Now, if you want to get that 250 and 300 kilowatt hour battery pack and a large truck, that's the only way you're going to get there is with breakthrough in the gravimetric density. So you're not carrying 3000lb. So you can carry a 2000 pound battery pack that has that 300 kilowatt hour number, or 250 to. 350 kilowatt hour. Because now you're talking some serious range. So you mentioned technological breakthroughs. I think we're still probably five to twelve years away before we see them in vehicles. And they'll start with high performance needs towing or high performance sports cars where you want to get the mass down around the mass of an internal combustion engine vehicle, which is much lighter. And that's why the Stalantis just released that Challenger that does 1.66 0 to 60. Their big advantage was they can put 1100 horsepower vehicle, put some huge tires on the back and they don't have that 1000 pound battery underneath. So the vehicle is lighter, it only has the driver's seat. So EVs are amazing. Unless you're trying to go really fast or really far.
Steve: So then how would you say these batteries that you're talking about compared to the 4680 cells that I know you guys have tore down?
Cory: So you have to look at batteries in two groups. Economy cells and performance cells. So, if you're trying to do mass market EVs, you want economy cells, cells that are easy to manufacture using low cost materials. So LFP, lithium, iron phosphate are your real economy cells, but they're not that great from a volumetric and gravimetric perspective. So if you buy a standard range Tesla Model Three or Y, they have catl LFP cells in it's about 50 kilowatt hours, and it fills up the entire space. That the 2170s, which are Ncma, nickel, cobalt, manganese, aluminum, and that you get 82 kilowatt hours. So you get 32 more kilowatt hours in the same volume and the same mass. But LFP batteries are a little better from a charging perspective. So the Rivians that you have use, I think Samsung 2170s, we tore down a bunch of we have a couple of Rivians, and they're using the similar cells as the Model Three and Model Y because you get a lot of energy density per unit volume. I know I'm repeating myself, sounds good. Economy sells and then performance cells. So when you go economy, 4680 really is an economy cell. And I said this once, a lot of people on Twitter and in the YouTube channel, they're like no, but Elon said it's going to be so much better. Well, the issue with the 4680, it's so much wider and they choose to cool on the side. The mean distance to the center is longer. So it's 46 instead of 21. That's why the plaid uses 18650s, because the distance from the side to the center is shorter. So their ability to cool the cells is better. When you're dealing with even the 18 650s get bigger. So when you buy a Model Three or Model Y, well, actually a Model Y with 46 80s, because Tesla cools from the side, they are not going to be able to cool it in a way that allows you to get that massive amount of performance and heat rejection that you get that you'll need for, like, towing or for high performance. So the economy. So I put the 4680 in with LFP as economy, and then the higher end chemistries that are using cobalt, manganese, aluminum, those are more for high performance. And then you get ultra high performance with lithium metals. So when we visited SES battery, they had a titanium laminate that's actually for aerospace that they deposit the lithium ion, the lithium on, and it's like incredibly light versus copper. So copper is expensive and heavy. Titanium is really expensive and lighter, and they even laser etched, like, little hexagonal spaces in it. The video is coming out next week, but when you hold it in your hand, it's like a butterfly wing. You can't even feel it, like the lithium and the titanium. Yeah. So SES is claiming 450 watt hours per kilogram. That's all the way on the other side of the scale of cost and performance. So I don't think that actually answers your question, but you have to kind of 46-80 is over in the economy.
Steve: So I believe that definitely did answer the question because it's not necessarily like a total game changer for all electric vehicles. It is more for the economy, for the scale of that. Have they released on their Tesla semi? Are they putting those 46 80 cells or are they putting something else?
Cory: I don't remember when Sandy and I were we got invited to Investor Day. We got to walk around and tour a semi, but I couldn't see the batteries. Nothing, obviously. Now, I know this is going to be on the Internet sometime. I don't know. But I thought they're using 21 70. Okay. I thought that was the case. Well, from what you were explaining, it would make more sense before.
Steve: Yeah. So one of the things I want to talk about, too, is you were talking about kind of the economy and more the performance side. So that goes into cost and all that. So why are current electric vehicles so expensive? And is there a route to get them cheaper?
Cory: Oh, this great question. So let's go back 30 years. My first vehicle was a 1991 Nissan Maxima. 1s This goes beyond electric versus non electric. So my 1991 Nissan Maxima was made primarily with mild steel, no ultra high strength steel. It had no airbags, no analog brakes, and a very basic electrical system with not a lot of features. It sold for, I think, $16,000 to $23,000 back in 1991. If you factor in inflation, that vehicle today a would cost $23 to $35,000. That $25,000 mark. But could Nissan sell a 1991 Maxima now? No. It would not pass roof crush. It would not pass the sorb test. It doesn't have any airbags. It did have seatbelts. So there's a tremendous amount of cost not associated with electric vehicles that are in every car you buy. From 2016 or 17 on. All vehicles have to pass this federal motor vehicle safety standard test called FMBs 226, which means, because there's so many more SUVs on the road, they realized that people were rolling their SUVs, and children and pets and luggage were getting ejected on rollovers. So there's a law that I think after 17, your airbags have to deploy below the belt line to retain your passengers, because they can't rely on rear passengers being belted. So it's actually a safety standard covering for the fact that they can't get people to belt in the back. Well, what does that do? That drives cost to the vehicles. The A pillars get bigger, and because you have bigger airbags going all the way back in the car, that means you have to use even more expensive steel to keep the size of the A pillar small enough so that you can actually see when you're turning a corner. These are the types of decisions that I've dealt with for years and years and years. Now that would make just a standard car you're buying with a four cylinder, six cylinder gas engine and a regular transmission in the mid twentys. Now, add fuel economy, regulation. Fuel economy standards are so much higher, just for internal combustion engine vehicles, that now you'll see high feature engines, so variable valve timing, direct injection, mild hybrid systems. So that was adding thousands of dollars to the powertrains of internal combustion engine vehicles. So. It was already a stretch to make money in that $25 to $30,000 range. That's why the average transaction price for vehicles was in 40s, now add electrification. So that was my whole program. It's already hard to make money in the automotive industry. An automobile is a symphony of thousands of parts. Incredible that people expect them to be such a low price. Now you electrify. Batteries are expensive, very expensive. The thermal systems that heat and cool the battery are also expensive. And OEMs did not have decades of developing them. So when we first saw EVs, what did they do? They jammed a battery in their internal combustion engine platform. It was inefficiently hung under the car. It was inefficient in the way the pack was made. The thermal systems were off the shelf components, commercial off the shelf components. And then you had lines running everywhere. And we criticized the Mach-E because it there. It looked like a rat's nest of hoses and lines when we took the front off. Now you get to a point where the MPGe for EVs is below 100. That's horrible. For a sedan, you really need your MPGe to be 120 to 130. That's the indication that an OEM knows what they're doing. Now I'm going to circle back to cost. So some of the best EVs that are efficient in how they design the batteries and thermal systems and the rest of the vehicle have a high MPGe, the lowest battery size possible for the most range. That's what you want, because if you're carrying a smaller battery, then you don't have to size up the rest of the vehicle to pass all these existing crash tests and durability requirements. But a battery cost and anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. So add that to the cost to build material. Now you really have to sell an EV for $42 to $50,000 to make any semblance of net profit. And what does Tesla do? They sell their vehicles from $42,000 up to 120 30,000. But really, I'm talking Model Y model three, which are more mainstream. They really get to about 70 for the Model Y. And a lot of OEMs are struggling. And Ford just announced that they expect to lose money with their Model E Group for, I think, the next two years. They said they were going to turn a profit in 2026. And these breakthroughs in battery technology and really how vehicles are designed, I think you'll see a wave of new generation vehicles coming from BW, Stellantis, Toyota, once they get their stuff together, and if they emulate what we see from some of the startups, like Rivian is actually pretty good in some sense, in how they do their high voltage system and their battery and their thermal system. Tesla is, like, world leading when it comes to efficiency from a cost and weight perspective. And I think you'll see a lot of catch up happening. But then Tesla announced at Investor Day, another huge step change in how vehicles are assembled. I don't know if you caught that. That is like the paradigm shift that needs to happen to get the cost down in the 30,000 range. Now, everybody says 25,000. I think 30,000 is fine. We have inflation. That's my long answer. An automobile is way more complex than electrified versus not electrified. We still have all these vestigial requirements for safety and fuel. Not fuel economy, but safety. And then the efficiency associated with the EV systems. It really drives a ton of cost of the vehicle.
Steve: Now, I would assume, too, that having all of this manufacturing and stuff done a certain way and trying to shift it takes time, it takes money to figure that stuff out.
Katie: It's money in the development of it, figuring it out.
Steve: And maybe that's what Tesla introduced at their Investor Day was how they were going to manufacture them in a more economical way. And then also, all of the technology and stuff that we expect with some of these electric vehicles is, I would imagine, pretty expensive as well. Like self driving and Adas.
Cory: And that's another thing that has kind of blended together, is Tesla sells all their vehicles with the FSD three or FSD four board. Now, we do cost analysis, and we cost that whole board out. It's north of $1,000 for that board with those two high end, discrete Tesla chips. There's multiple boards in there, and it even has to be thermally cooled. And only, I think, adoption of FSD beta or people who pay is only 14% or 16% somewhere in that range. So that means 84% of Tesla's out there on the road aren't using the full capability. So that means Tesla is giving away those processors. But we oftentimes talk with this really smart guy. His name is Thomas Mueller. He works for a company called WEPRO. He knows, one, everything about the software and how they collect the data and whatnot and other OEMs the requirements is you have to have redundant computers. So Tesla has all these circuit boards and chips, all these chips on the circuit board. And they have the exact same chips and circuit board. Right here. What Tesla does. They're on the same board. They have separate power feeds. 1s One of them is doing the work of collecting the data from all the sensors and processing the real world data and driving the car if needed. The other one is running a validation script, he said. So it's really novel. Another OEM from Germany, I think they have level three autonomy. They have one circuit board and chip doing all of that, and the other one is a separate unit sitting in the trunk, and it's doing nothing. It's about 700 or $1,000 for this. So Tesla is about eight years ahead of the competition in collecting this wide range of data, because they collect the data and they're processing it, they send it back to the mothership, and they use the dojo chip to process and validate all the real world data. So that's like a five hour conversation if you go into the lead that they have when it comes to collecting data. So even the super low cost vehicle that Tesla is bragging about, the 25,000 or $30,000 EV, it will have all of this functionality. And I've said recently that I think Tesla is experimenting with removing ultrasonic sensors and radar, because if you buy a Model S plaid, now, it doesn't have ultrasonic sensors in the front. It does have radar, I believe, but these are expensive components. It's like a billion dollar decision to go without those sensors and radar if you factor in how many cars they sell a year. And 1s I think they're experimenting with can they do this with just cameras? Because cameras are cheap. Cameras are not expensive. And I think hardware four now, it's little five megapixel cameras. And if you can get away with doing this with just cameras, you can deploy this globally at a much lower cost. That circles back to the cost number. I feel like they're pulling the radar. They pulled the radar out of the Model Y, partly because maybe chip, you know, chip constraints, and now they've been able to test with and without radar, with and without ultrasonic sensors, with and without three megapixel cameras to five megapixel cameras. They've had so much learning over the last five years, it's just incredible. And in the next two to three years, you may see other OEMs deploy similar systems, but that's their starting line. That's when they're going to start to collect data. So it's kind of wild.
Steve: That is wild. I could go down that rabbit hole and ask you a bazillion questions, but I will spare Katie.
Katie: Hey, I'm learning lots, and I love it. It's. It's so fascinating. And it is like when you stop and you think about how much goes into just a vehicle and then the EV side of it on top of it and all of this stuff, and it's kind of something because we've been getting a lot of the it's too expensive for me comments a lot lately. And I'm like, yeah, but think about how much thought and testing and energy is just going into developing all of this and making it work. For every vehicle on the road, I'm like, there's an ungodly amount of money just in that alone. So it's fascinating to me, too.
Steve: I would agree. So you've worked on a ton of different projects. How long have you been in Munro & Associates?
Cory: 18 years. I'm in my 18th year. I kind of lose track. I think I'll actually hit the 18 year anniversary in September or something.
Steve: Nice. So along that way, what is kind of the craziest project that you've worked on? Something that people wouldn't think that Munro and Associates worked on. Crazy.
Cory: I won't say crazy, but just unique things. I have worked on a rice plant planter made for the Asian market. I've worked on skid steers, which are like bobcats front loaders. I've worked on the scope for a gun. I've supported an air conditioning unit for the military. I spent three months in Brazil supporting the development of a plane for Ember Air. Nice. Yeah. Doing some lean design training and workshops there. And then some of the odd stuff I'm most proud of is the most boring, so I can't really say the OEM, but it was in Michigan, and it was the development of a new vehicle, essentially from scratch, and it started in 2011 and went all the way through 2017. So the sketch phase, we were working with a group like Advanced Concept Engineering, and I was able to save the spare tire. They were going to get rid of it. They wanted it. They were going to get rid of it, and they decided they need it. And I was able to put a whole packet of information to show them that they could package it in the rear quarter, and it was a collapsible spare. And I fought a lot of battles with the packaging engineer about the tire envelope. They had a requirement that it had to be able to withstand hitting a curb at 25 miles an hour in reverse in a parking lot. And that caused the tire envelope, meaning the max distance the tire could travel in the wheel well was, like, really far out in one direction. Well, I got them to drop that requirement, and it shrunk the tire envelope crazy. So that it could fit. And then how that rear shock mounts on that vehicle, they had a design because they were using tooling in the plant that had vertical screws. It was called cucapalot. And they wanted to maintain these vertical screws. So they had this aluminum cup, and it was like $3 for both sides and 3lbs. And then all the structure in the body to react when all the other OEM ms look at Honda or Ford, they had a bar like this with two holes, and they just screwed in the side, and it was in Shear, and it saved 7lbs and $7 on every vehicle that was ever made. So if one of those vehicles drove by and parked in a parking lot, I would get it to bend down and look in the rear wheel, because I know that if I wouldn't have fought that, the vehicle would have gone to production 7lb heavier, $7 more. But they make a quarter million a year, so, whatever. Seven times a quarter million times 15 years, they'll make that. That's the value we bring. So I'm kind of proud of these weird battles that I fought back when I was in my 20s. That's awesome. Yeah.
Katie: So I have to ask, so somebody has just, you know, caught some of your, like, tear down videos, right? Like, they haven't dug into the heart of, like, what Munro & Associates does. Like, what what would you say? Like, what is at the heart of what you guys do? What are you what's your goals? What are you aiming to to do in the world?
Cory: So we are a catalyst for change. So Sandy likes to say it's 90% psychology and 10% cent technology. So understanding technology and benchmarking is only 10% of it. So we pride ourselves on being able to actually impact an organization's design and their products for good. And it may seem like a lot of a consultancy speak, but we recently had a workshop with a large OEM and we compared their vehicle versus a few other vehicles and they were blown away with the quality of the ideas and the context that comes behind them. Because we've seen thousands of bad ideas, so we know how to weed out bad ideas and then how we deliver those is in a real collaborative way. We purposefully train our employees to speak with ‘we’. So if that OEM is in the building, they won't say, you need to do this or you need to do that. We don't point and we don't ever want to take the credit. We want to have our client realize that we're in it for them. And then they come away feeling like, man, these are good ideas. We should change the clips on the harness for the rear fascia. These are small impactful ideas that roll up to substantial savings and improvement. And we work on anything from refrigerators to exercise equipment to grills, smokers, cell phones. We're way beyond the automotive industry, and a lot of people don't realize that. We actually tried to do a couple of fridge teardowns on our channel. They went horribly. The first video got, like, 60,000 views, the second got, like, 20,000, and then the third we scrapped. And we actually ended up selling the fridges. We were going to do a sub zero fridge versus, like, a low end fridge there and show is it worth it? 14,000 versus 2000. Yeah. And we tried to dip our toe in a different segment. We backed out.
Steve: So is it worth it?
Cory: It depends on if you're it depends on if you're invested in staying somewhere a long time. Okay. Because the repairability of a sub zero over time, if the compressor goes out after twelve or 15 years, you can get it fixed. It's less of a throwaway item. It's more of an heirloom fridge. And I feel like the styling and the styling and the function of all the the drawers and the compartments inside, they kind of stand the test of time.
Steve: Now that we lost everybody.
Katie: Yeah, you took it there.
Steve: That's really cool to hear that you guys have worked on all that different stuff, 1s and I'm sure you're going to be around for a long, long time, kind of solidifying yourself, definitely in the automotive industry with what you guys are accomplishing, and then also in the public eye too, with Munro Live. I know the answer to this, but who was the person that thought of that?
Cory: Oh, Munro live. Yeah. Always my idea. Credit is oftentimes given to lots of different people, but I was the one who executed it. I bought the Domain Munrolive.com on March 20 of 2020 on my personal GoDaddy account. And I created Munro Live channel with a brand new Gmail account because I had asked for the login of our corporate YouTube channel, which still exists, by the way. It's called Munro assoc. It has 14 videos on it from 2008 until now, and it only has 140,000 views and like 800 subscribers. And I think 600 have come since we created our channel because, they they get confused, but I asked for the login for that. And at the time, we had a PR firm that managed it and they said, oh, no, you don't know how to create content. And they wouldn't give me access to it. So Munro Live was kind of created like, I'm the president of the company. Yes, I'll just create something. And then we've kind of forged ahead with that. And we're actually launching a secondary channel called Munro Live Podcast. We're building a podcast studio. It's actually going to look similar to this. We're going to have a big table, enough four mics rodecaster lighting. The whole thing is filled with sound deadening. Yeah. Foam and stuff. Um. And we've lined up our first seven or eight interviews. Some other YouTubers, maybe, I'll consider the two of you, but we wanted to be in person, some other YouTubers, and then a lot of other industry guests, engineers, chief engineers and stuff. But we've already had a lot of pretty decent people interviewed. We've had Elon, Jim Farley, RJ Scringe, at him, we interviewed him and then a couple of chief engineers from Ford and 1s some CEOs of battery companies.
Katie: When we started the podcast, this will be what, Episode 13 now? I think so it's pretty new, but we kind of were like, we should probably do this, all of the things, they should have a podcast. And so we kind of dragged our feet on it for a while and then we started doing it and it's kind of becoming one of our favorite things. Just sit down and have conversations with people and talk about all that's going on, learn their stories, talking to people like you that have all of this knowledge and people that just go out and do it and talking about their experiences and stuff because we can talk about what we do over and over again. But it's just fun to get that extra element in it. And I think you guys have enough of a pull that you'll be able to get some really fun names and people in there that are going to be great to have on.
Cory: What's the long term plan for your channel and your efforts? Do you still have some day jobs? Yeah.
Katie: We both own businesses. We both are full time with that, and we're doing this on the side. And, you know, it's funny because I always say, I'm like. I just, I went into the family business of education and childcare and that kind of thing. But really, I mean, I started making, like, a newsletter for Hanson, like the MMMbop guys way back 1s when I was in middle school online, and I wanted to make a met website for him and stuff, but everything was so new then. My mom and dad were like, I don't know how you're going to make money doing that. You take a turn and you go, okay, well, I'll go do something that's known. And so it's kind of always been my passion to create content and that kind of stuff. And so when YouTube became what it was, and I was like, I want to do this just for fun, just for my side, just to have a hobby. And so it's been continuing to grow. So potentially one day I could hopefully maybe just do the channel and stuff and try to make that what I do, because I do love doing it. I love creating content and putting stuff out there and helping people again. It still kind of goes back to my education. I like helping people learn and helping to inspire people to do what they want to do and just take life by the horns and do what you want.
Steve: We want to continue to educate people on towing with electric vehicle. 1s We. Katie is the driving force behind most of this stuff, but recently came up with an EV RV Rally, and it's inviting people out to a rally where we bring people in and have talks about kind of what we were talking about earlier, EVs in general, camping in general, and then also towing with an EV. And so this is our second year that we'll be having that. And so we're just really kind of getting started with some of that stuff, but we just want to expand that and continue to meet people like you in the Airstream rally, connect with people there and just everywhere. CES Fully Charged, like all
Cory: Are you going to a fully charged
Katie: We haven't put it on the calendar yet, but we want to.
Cory: I went to Fully Charged San Diego last year. I spoke on a panel. It was like a 20 minutes panel, and there was five people up there, so I spoke for two minutes or something. Yeah, if you do the math, most I get is five. You it. Yeah, but the fully charged people are great. Do you know Robert Llewelled? I mean, the guy who founded it.
Katie: Yeah. I mean know of him, but yeah, I haven't ever had a chance to connect with him or anything.
Cory: Yes, we know Robert really well. See? So just the connection. If you ever wanted an introduction to anyone, let me know. Yeah.
Steve: We'd like to move also into the direction of road tripping with a family. Going to like an airbnb that's EV friendly, that has an EV charge just to show the ease. If you seek that out, that makes life much easier with electric vehicle. Just once again, going back to the education side of it all the stuff that we really enjoy. But we also know newcomers to the electric vehicle space are really going to want to do the years of research and figure that stuff out.
Katie: Just showing a little bit is what possible. We're trying to see if we can figure out timing and life work stuff to tow the camper to like, Alaska or Baja California or yeah. So, you know, like we want to show people like you can't if you're not afraid of it, it works. You know, and and so and have fun and travel and see the world and do all that stuff.
Cory: Yeah. And you live in Lincoln, one of my favorite cities.
Katie: Yes, it is a great town. We love it.
Cory: This morning I went for a run and I did like, a tour of Lincoln. Ran all the way to Bryan L-G-H. It's not called that anymore. It's called Bryan. Yeah. And then I went to Holmes Lake, ran up the dam around the lake, and then I went out to 112th and A. And then. Through the dirt roads and back here, I got to see all sorts of familiar sights. It's amazing what it does to the mind because I lived here for 18 years and as I'm running on Cotner or Boulevard and by the mall, it's just like all these memories are coming back of me. Like riding in the car with my dad, my mom, and going to the dentist in that building. It's like nostalgia steroids. So I think I named my run on Nostalgia Run or something. Nice. Yeah,
Katie: It's a good town, a great place to grow up and raise kids and all that good stuff.
Cory: Too bad our football team is not very good. 2s What's your thought on Matt Rule?
Steve: My thought is I think that his kind of record speaks really well for him, like a long standing record. So I think that he'll be a great fit for Nebraska as far as his core beliefs, too, I think we need that in a coach. Feel like we haven't had that for a while. And so I think he set her around family. I think it's going to be really good. But, she's KU grad.
Katie: Yeah, we got knocked out of the tournament, so I'm depressed, so it's fine.
Cory: At least you made the tournament. Frask hasn't even made the NIT since like Terrone Lewd days in a while.
Katie: Been a while. But yeah, we're coming up at about that time. But it was great to have you on. No problem. Awesome conversation. Always love digging in deep and any closing arguments.
Steve: No arguments, just thank you very much and we'll see you around.
Cory: Awesome, thanks. I appreciate it. Thank you.
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