Hybrids & Electrics

Unthinkable: Tesla Cybertruck Prototype Testing With Crazy Diesel Engine!

While this might seem like clickbait, it’s not. Observant residents in and around Fremont, California, where Tesla’s headquarters is located, have seen an odd sight. A Cybertruck prototype has been seen filling up at local truck stops. But wait, the Cybertruck is electric like all other Tesla vehicles. Not so fast.

Rumors say it is a “400-plus horsepower racing-derived diesel engine”

Cybertruck during reveal | Getty
People take pictures of the newly unveiled all-electric battery-powered Tesla’s Cybertruck at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California on November 21, 2019 | Getty

Over the last year or so there are former Tesla employees who have made mention of an experimental diesel engine project within Tesla. According to the UK’s Wealthup, the rumors specifically say it is a “400-plus horsepower racing-derived diesel engine.” But who races diesel engines? 

Then, Electricdesigns got its hands on some Tesla PowerPoint signs used in meetings at headquarters. It says these shed light on this dubious diesel deal. The boards indicate a few years ago Tesla was concerned about battery supplies. So it was exploring using an internal combustion alternative to fill in for a potential lack of batteries. 

Surveys indicated there was a large segment of US car and truck buyers that would never buy electric-powered vehicles. Some said range anxiety was the main reason, but about 10% surveyed thought that electric vehicles were some type of “conspiracy.” Conspiracy for what outcome was never determined as is the case with most conspiracies. 

An ICE Cybertruck would help solidify the brand as a “real truck” maker

Tesla Cybertruck | Getty
Tesla Cybertruck | Getty

RELATED: Elon Musk Struggles to Keep the Tesla Cybertruck on Schedule

So Tesla was looking for a way to at least get those folks into the Tesla tent. The theory was if the ICE Tesla product was good enough it could lead to EV sales down the road. An ICE Cybertruck was thought to help solidify the brand as a “real truck” maker as opposed to one only appealing to “tree hugger types.”

But where it gets interesting is that the diesel powerplant rumored to be in the Cybertruck prototype is the Audi A15 TDI engine. That’s Audi’s 5.5-liter V10 turbo diesel engine with over 600 hp. Even if turbo-less for cost purposes it can still crank out over 400 hp-and that’s before factoring in any hybrid electric application which anything coming from Tesla would surely have. Also, keep in mind that with the weight of a battery pack at over 1,000 lbs, a diesel-powered Cybertruck would be much lighter. 

What if this “diesel” Cybertruck was meant to run on RP-1 rocket fuel?

Tesla Cybertruck | Getty
Tesla Cybertruck | Getty

But what if this “diesel” Cybertruck was meant to run on a different type of fuel? Something like RP-1? You may not have heard of RP-1 but you know about kerosene? RP-1 is a highly refined form of kerosene used in rocket engines. It is stable, cheap, and offers a lower specific impulse than something like liquid hydrogen. So it is an efficient fuel. 

Tesla sister company SpaceX uses the stuff for its Falcon 9 rockets. So, while it might seem like something incredibly exotic, which it somewhat is, the stuff is being used by the barrelsful right next door to Tesla. It is much cleaner than diesel, allows the engine to rev higher, and offers more power. Supposedly, observers have also seen a second fuelport on this prototype that is for liquid oxygen, which is already available at charging stations.

“Overthruster Mode!”

Tesla Cybertruck | Getty
Tesla Cybertruck | Getty

The liquid oxygen is injected into the diesel engine creating a super-rich oxygen environment for incoming fuel. This creates a cleaner burn and produces more power similar to what a turbocharger does. Tesla would call this boost of liquid oxygen “Overthruster Mode.” Mike drop!

So now what do you think about diesel power? With an Overthruster Mode button pushed you could get some serious acceleration. It sort of makes you forget about electric power altogether. 

This all seems Buck Rogers-like but sources say this is really going on within the hallowed halls of Tesla headquarters. We hate to be Tesla fanboys but while other companies are trying to catch up with the EV part of Tesla, Elon Musk and company are playing with rocket fuel and Overthruster Modes.