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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am in the research phase of my project and have stumbled across your site and seem some bright people here. Thought I would throw a few questions your way...

I want to EV an old GM muscle car (chassis/body yet to be identified) with a FULL Tesla drivetrain.
I have 2 ideas so far,
  • one is to buy a 2015ish P85D Model S and transplant everything into the GM car (front and rear motors, full battery pack (mounted under the drives compartment), HVAC, screens, ABS, power steering, etc).
  • second is a Model 3 P3D and transplant everything into the GM car (front and rear motors, full battery pack (mounted under the drives compartment), HVAC, screens, ABS, power steering, etc).
Doing this, it seems that I wouldn't need to use any aftermarket inverters/DU since the whole electrical system would be Tesla based.

Looking for some expert advance.
Plan is to buy a crashed M3 or P85D and move everything over.
 

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Looks like a great conversion. You wouldn't go wrong with either if those Tesla's. Don't expect same power in your conversion as in Tesla. I'll still be a great ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Don't expect same power in your conversion as in Tesla.
Can you explain why not? This is surprising to hear. The car would weigh less than the original donor car so I’d imagine it would be just as fast or faster.
 

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I don't understand expecting the conversion to be lighter than the original Tesla, of either model. The converted car will have all the heavy parts of the Tesla (the motors, and especially the battery) in a body and chassis which is not optimized to use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't understand expecting the conversion to be lighter than the original Tesla, of either model. The converted car will have all the heavy parts of the Tesla (the motors, and especially the battery) in a body and chassis which is not optimized to use them.
The receiving car will not have airbags, crash/crumble zones, steel body parts, etc.

Is there any cad mockups of the battery packs for the S or 3? I haven't been able to find anything.
 

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Your car will be a bit heavier because the weight of the existing motor and transmission and fuel tank is less than the weight of the Tesla drive unit and batteries. You'll be taking out 550 or so pounds of weight and adding back in about 900 pounds or so.
You'll get really good performance, but your range will be low, mostly due to drag. A '60s musclecar has a drag coefficient of, say, an angled brick ( around .50 or .60 or so). A Tesla Model S runs around .24, which makes it WAY easier to push all that weight through the atmosphere.

Not saying it won't be a great around-town car, just saying it won't be a highway cruiser or something for long distance road trips. It's not likely that you'll be able to use the Tesla charging network, as they have a handshaking protocol that checks VINs against their database, and they keep on top of which motors aren't in Tesla service any more.
 

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Can you explain why not? This is surprising to hear. The car would weigh less than the original donor car so I’d imagine it would be just as fast or faster.
MD explained it. You would end up with a heavy dragster, which would have better performance than the stock donor's.

If you end up buying a salvaged Tesla, ensure everything works, including the supercharging.
 

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The receiving car will not have airbags, crash/crumble zones, steel body parts, etc.
An "old GM muscle car" is all steel; a Tesla Model S body (including unitized structure) is aluminum.

I don't think airbags are significant, but it is true that the cumulative total of the safety and convenience stuff that is in a modern car is heavier than the equivalent for an old car... but are you really doing a car with no door beams, no air conditioning, manual-wind windows, and a one-speaker radio? It sounds like the plan is to use all of the modern stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
An "old GM muscle car" is all steel; a Tesla Model S body (including unitized structure) is aluminum.

I don't think airbags are significant, but it is true that the cumulative total of the safety and convenience stuff that is in a modern car is heavier than the equivalent for an old car... but are you really doing a car with no door beams, no air conditioning, manual-wind windows, and a one-speaker radio? It sounds like the plan is to use all of the modern stuff.
You guys know more than me, I'm just trying to do the research. Seems like Model S weighs over 5000# and a GM old school shell is 1500#, I was thinking
300# for each motor/inverter/axles
800# for the battery pack
500# for misc hvac/steering stuff
 

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Seems like Model S weighs over 5000# and a GM old school shell is 1500#, I was thinking
300# for each motor/inverter/axles
800# for the battery pack
500# for misc hvac/steering stuff
What does that old "shell" include? Suspension, brakes?

If you compare the old car's brake rotors to the Tesla's, you'll see the source of some of the new car's extra weight. Now, with all that power, do you want the little old brakes?

Whether it is included in the weight you are using for the old car or not, the conversion will presumably use tires of a size more like the Tesla than anything from half a century ago, and that means double the weight of wheels and tires.

The 800 pound weight for the battery would be the bare modules, without any of the supporting structure and enclosures. Some people think just strapping down a few modules in the trunk or back seat is okay, but it might not be a good idea.

Just to get to some more realistic numbers, is there a specific model and year to use as an example, with the understanding that the actual conversion may not be of that model?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What does that old "shell" include? Suspension, brakes?

If you compare the old car's brake rotors to the Tesla's, you'll see the source of some of the new car's extra weight. Now, with all that power, do you want the little old brakes?

Whether it is included in the weight you are using for the old car or not, the conversion will presumably use tires of a size more like the Tesla than anything from half a century ago, and that means double the weight of wheels and tires.

The 800 pound weight for the battery would be the bare modules, without any of the supporting structure and enclosures. Some people think just strapping down a few modules in the trunk or back seat is okay, but it might not be a good idea.

Just to get to some more realistic numbers, is there a specific model and year to use as an example, with the understanding that the actual conversion may not be of that model?
I get where you are coming from totally, I might have over estimated the weight savings of crumple zones, airbags, etc.
The plan is to transplant this into a 1969 Camaro and make it an AWD Tesla swap vehicle that COULD use the supercharger network.
 

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i have to assume that you are a good mechanic with a machine shop and welding equipment available.

Maybe you could find a tesla that was totalled due to crumpled body work and remove all the body panels, then drop the camaro body over the tesla and french in the gaps.

Now you'll have all the functional tesla goodies on the inside, and it will look like a camaro on the outside.

Due to the aerodynamics and extra weight of the steel body as Brian_ mentioned, it will likely get less than half the range and be half as fast as the oem tesla, but it will look like a 60's muscle car.

Search for the tesfalia, or the stretchla, and read about doing a swap such as you want.

If you ever get a test drive in a tesla then you will surely want one.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i have to assume that you are a good mechanic with a machine shop and welding equipment available.

Maybe you could find a tesla that was totalled due to crumpled body work and remove all the body panels, then drop the camaro body over the tesla and french in the gaps.

Now you'll have all the functional tesla goodies on the inside, and it will look like a camaro on the outside.

Due to the aerodynamics and extra weight of the steel body as Brian_ mentioned, it will likely get less than half the range and be half as fast as the oem tesla, but it will look like a 60's muscle car.

Search for the tesfalia, or the stretchla, and read about doing a swap such as you want.

If you ever get a test drive in a tesla then you will surely want one.

Yes, good mechanic, with welding equipment, my other car is a 7 second car that I drag race in the quarter mile

I have thought about a body swap instead of a retrofit, I still need to figure out wheelbase, tracks if I go that route.

I own a Model X P100D, this is what is driving the desire to swap the Tesla drivetrain into an old muscle car.

Appreciate those terms, I will search them and see what info I can find.
 

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The plan is to transplant this into a 1969 Camaro and make it an AWD Tesla swap vehicle that COULD use the supercharger network.
You're off by a year (should be a 1968), but that's an excellent choice. ;) Nice car. Unfortunately, not a big car, so fitting in an entire set of Tesla battery modules will be difficult. The recent eCOPO Camaro project used the trunk and back seat space for its battery, and the current Camaro is slightly larger than the original.

I don't think Supercharger use is a realistic possibility. Tesla manages all Supercharging with communication between the car, the charging station, and their system, and apparently disables any vehicle which is scrapped. I think it's unlikely that any vehicle deemed to be "written off" or a "total loss" by an insurance company would work with a Supercharger, even if completely undamaged electronically.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I plan on putting the full tesla pack under the car as Tesla does.
I am just trying to find dimensions of the pack online instead of having to put my MX up in the air and measure the pack.
 

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Maybe you could find a tesla that was totalled due to crumpled body work and remove all the body panels, then drop the camaro body over the tesla and french in the gaps.

Now you'll have all the functional tesla goodies on the inside, and it will look like a camaro on the outside.
But the Model S (or X or 3) is a unibody vehicle (not body on separate frame). Not many panels can be removed before getting into structure, and that body structure is the whole vehicle's structure, so you need it. Even if the dimensions and proportions worked out, blending the lower parts of the Tesla with the upper parts of another car would be a mess (yes, I've seen this done with a Prius and another body, and it was a mess) and with the aluminum Model S or X and a steel Camaro (or whatever) it would be especially problematic. For an additional complicating factor, the first-generation Camaro (like some other GMs of the time) is unibody from the firewall back, but has a half-frame at the front, so the body to be mounted on top doesn't have any structure forward of the firewall.

I have thought about a body swap instead of a retrofit, I still need to figure out wheelbase, tracks if I go that route.
A "body swap" implies that there is a separate frame and chassis on which to mount a different body, and there isn't in this case. Aside from this structural issue, the Tesla Model S is much larger is both wheelbase and track than first-generation (or any) Camaro.
 

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I plan on putting the full tesla pack under the car as Tesla does.
I am just trying to find dimensions of the pack online instead of having to put my MX up in the air and measure the pack.
Module dimensions are easier to find, and the full 16-module pack is
  • 7 module widths long
  • 2 module lengths wide
  • one module thickness high, for most of it, and two module thicknesses tall at the front
... plus some space between the modules in each dimension
 

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Module dimensions are easier to find, and the full 16-module pack is
  • 7 module widths long
  • 2 module lengths wide
  • one module thickness high, for most of it, and two module thicknesses tall at the front
... plus some space between the modules in each dimension
+ two on in the middle, top of each other.

Just leaving this here: :)
 

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Not trying to hijack this thread but my question may also be useful for the thread starter.

What exactly do we need at minimum from a Tesla Donor car to transfer over to another car and it will be drive-able? Mainly electronics or sensors wise so the computer doesn’t freak out.
 
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