What's in a Tesla? This company broke one apart to find out

Inside the Tesla Model S
Inside the Tesla Model S   

What's a Tesla made of?

Andrew Rassweiler, a senior director at IHS Technology, endeavored to find out. His firm bought a 2013 Model S that had crashed in an accident and then began taking it apart as part of their research.

IHS breaks apart products ranging from Apple iPhones and iPads to occasionally entire cars to offer reports for different stakeholders.

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"They all want to know what's inside the things that they buy and sometimes the things they're competing against," Rassweiler said.

Tesla D, Tesla Model D, Tesla Motors, Elon Musk

In breaking apart a Tesla, IHS found the head unit alone holds nearly 5,300 individual components, more than four times the number of parts in an iPhone 5s.

The technicians, investigators and analysts took out the power train electronics including enormous battery packs, motor drive electronics, battery chargers. Inside, they found many chips from Nvidia, a company that makes graphics processors that powers games and other high-end videos. Other companies that were discovered include Innolux, Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, Altera.

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One surprising factor Rassweiler discovered was how much of the product was actually designed by Tesla itself, specifically the display screen in the dashboard. It's common for most automotive companies to use a third party, rather than building and designing it themselves.

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Another factor that intrigued Rassweiler? "The simple fact that there's a 17-inch display controlling the vehicle. Kind of like a large iPad controlling your car."