Broken Tesla Model S Gets V8 Power and a Manual Transmission

The Tesla Model S was designed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle. In fact, the American carmaker currently does not produce any internal combustion engines for its models. Despite this, one ambitious YouTuber has decided to take it upon himself to turn a broken Tesla Model S into a fire-breathing V8-powered beast. In a new video posted to the Rich Rebuilds YouTube channel, Rich details that this new project will even have a manual transmission.

Why stick a V8 under the hood of a Tesla Model S?

Although the Tesla Model S V8 project may seem like a bit of a spectacle on the surface, there is a frustrating reason behind it. One of the Rich Rebuilds YouTube channel’s main focuses was to educate the masses on how to repair their broken or damaged Tesla vehicles. This is because Tesla does not currently sell replacement parts to individuals. As a result, if your vehicle breaks, your only option is to go to the dealership. Aside from controlling the costs to repair, it also strips the consumer of the right to repair their own vehicles.

Additionally, Rich himself experienced one of the main drawbacks of fixing his own Model S. This is because upon finishing a Model S rebuild project, Rich noticed that Tesla had disabled the car’s ability to use the companies supercharger system or enable fast charging. According to InsideEVs, Tesla cuts these features in vehicles branded with a salvage title for safety reasons. As a result, Tesla Model S’ which are significantly damaged, quickly become almost worthless.

To combat this, Rich decided to take a Model S destined for the junkyard and give it an all-new powertrain. Since Rich can’t buy EV components from Tesla for this project, he decided to stick a V8 under the hood with a manual transmission.

Is this the first V8-powered Tesla Model S?

A Tesla Model S electric car is on display during 2020 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition
The Tesla Model S | VCG/VCG via Getty Images

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No one has attempted to give the Tesla Model S a brand-new internal combustion engine at the time of writing. Despite this, Rich seems more than up to the task. The engine in question is a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 out of a Chevy Camaro. The engine develops between 426 to 455 hp in the muscle car, depending on the model year. However, Rich’s engine is set to develop the lower 426 figure. Attached is a six-speed manual transmission that will make it onto the Tesla.

Since the Model S was never designed to have an internal combustion engine, there are a few major hurdles to jump over. For starters, this Model S will need a brand-new instrument cluster to read all of the data from the engine. Additionally, it will need all of the components to send that power to the rear wheels. However, it is important to note that since the Model S houses a battery pack on its floor, it doesn’t exactly have ample space for a differential, driveshaft, exhaust system, and so on.

For now, we will have to wait and see just how much room there is to swap the V8 in once all of the Tesla’s EV components are removed during disassembly. However, when you consider that Rich has rebuilt several Tesla’s now, chances are he’ll be able to get this conversion done as well.

This V8-powered EV is quite eco-friendly

White Tesla Model S driving through the mountains
Tesla Model S | Tesla

While giving a Tesla Model S a fire-breathing V8 may not seem eco-friendly, you’d be wrong. Given the lack of parts available to owners, plenty of these EVs head to the junkyard prematurely. Keep in mind. These are repairable vehicles with plenty of life left in them. As a result, these worthless EVs raise the question of sustainability. What good is an EV if you have to trash it once it breaks in a major way? To this end, adding the V8 is an act of recycling. While it may not be powered by batteries anymore, it will not need to be scrapped and turned into waste.