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Ep. 13 || Cory Steuben of Munro Live!

Episode Date: March 29, 2023

Summary | Key Topics & Timestamps | Links & Mentions | Full Episode Transcript

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

0:00 Introduction

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

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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.