Why Tesla and McLaren are borrowing parts from Mercedes and Hyundai

When you think of unique high-end cars, like the Tesla Model X or any McLaren supercar, you mostly think of their most distinctive components: the EV battery technology that powers the Tesla, or the powerful aerodynamic features that give the McLaren its grip on the racetrack. You might be surprised to find that these advanced vehicles share a lot of their hidden components with much more common everyday cars.

Welcome to the parts department, where we follow the basic components of the car to their strangest destinations.

The Model X, you won’t be surprised to find, shares many components with its sedan sister, the Tesla Model S. Which is why we see the same steering column stems and window switches from Mercedes in both vehicles. electric. But I recently realized that one of the more advanced systems in the Model X, the HVAC system, equipped with “Bioweapon defense mode” – is built using common components found in many other cars.

A heater core mixing door actuator is an electric servo motor that opens and closes a door inside the HVAC assembly to adjust the amount of hot or cold air sent through the vents. In Model X, the mixing door actuator is manufactured by auto parts supplier Woory, with part number D266-EB9AA01. It turns out that this Woory component is original equipment in a variety of Hyundai and Kias. Its first appearance in the US market was in the 2009 Hyundai Sonata, and it has also appeared overseas in vehicles like the Hyundai i30 and the Kia Cee’d. While the logic and filtration systems that power Tesla’s Bioweapons Defense Mode are quite advanced, using a known and reliable part, like this Woory Mixing Door Actuator, is the best choice in the world. cost and reliability point of view.

Mercedes-Benz had to be on to something with the fourth generation E-Class. Not only did Tesla borrow a bunch of interior rods and switches from Benz, but McLaren decided that the E-Class window motors would be perfect for its smaller mid-engined supercar, the 570S (as well as the 540C on the market. European). Brose window motor no. 934531-102 first hit the market in the 2010 Mercedes E-Class, but soon after McLaren chose the same component for its own lineup. If you ever remove the door panel from a 570S, you’ll know it: there’s a Mercedes-Benz logo imprinted right next to the Brose brand name on the engine crankcase. This window motor ended up being very popular, making its way to a variety of other models, including the Mercedes-AMG GT-R, a competitor to McLaren.

2010 Mercedes-Benz E350


And just to close the triangle, the Tesla Model X also borrows some parts that were originally designed for McLaren. While the Model X is best known for its bizarre electrically folding Falcon Wing cantilever rear doors, the front doors are quite advanced on their own, with a smooth-closing capability. These power-locking doors are closed by a Chevalier locking mechanism, an early version of which first appeared in the McLaren MP4-12C, McLaren’s first production car of the modern era. This Chevalier component quickly made its way to the rest of the McLaren lineup.

One of the unique features of this McLaren-Tesla connection is the opportunity it provided for aftermarket upgrades. Many McLaren models don’t come with soft-close doors, but every X model has this capability, using a slightly different version of the shared Knight latch to close the doors. Eventually, some McLaren owners figured out that the two parts were interchangeable and started installing the Model X parts in their British supercars to achieve soft-closing doors. Below is one of the best videos on this upgrade, where a McLaren owner shows the Tesla part numbers needed to perform this smart upgrade. In this case, sharing parts between very different vehicles ended up being an advantage for the owners.

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You might be wondering why premium exclusive cars sometimes use parts from more common makes and models. It is actually advantageous for low volume manufacturers to find compatible parts from existing vehicles, especially from a financial point of view. A component of a vehicle already on sale has been the subject of in-depth research and development; the use of this component means that a smaller automaker does not need to pay to develop a new one. Plus, shared equipment reduces risk. With a smaller quantity of a limited production car like a McLaren, there are fewer individual vehicles to help spread the cost of developing a newly designed part. While that might not seem like a big deal for a supercar with a six-figure price tag, think about the number of components needed to build a modern car. Designing each item in-house would dramatically increase the price of a car. This is especially relevant when it comes to items like this Tesla / McLaren door lock mechanism. Not only did this component require a lot of development for its general functionality, there were additional costs for safety testing, as most markets have safety regulations that specify how a car door opens and closes.

Most of the time, the common parts of a vehicle are not visible from the curb or the driver’s seat. But it’s always fun to find an Easter Egg when you take a car apart and see a familiar component staring at you.

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