Can You Break This Charming Bus' Heart and Tell It It's Not a Tesla?

Have you ever spotted a very old person gazing through their thick glasses at the smartphone section in a supermarket, obviously struggling to understand what it is they're looking at? Well, that's precisely the image this 1968 WestCoaster sucking power from a Supercharger evokes.
WestCoaster electric bus using Supercharger 4 photos
WestCoaster electric bus using the Supercharger networkWestCoaster electric bus using the Supercharger networkWestCoaster electric bus using the Supercharger network
But the bus actually appears to have quite an interesting story. It was built by WestCoster in 1968 with an electric powertrain capable of reaching the dizzying speed of 15 miles an hour (25 km/h). It used an unspecified number of lead-acid batteries and probably (most definitely) had a very limited range.

Two years ago, the "electric trolley" washed up on Craigslist where the owner claimed it was the only one ever made. It was located in California and had an asking price of $19,000. At this point, its trace was completely lost, but given this recent spotting, it's safe to assume somebody bought it and shown it some well-deserved love.

The pictures were taken by Pavel Zhuravlev (via Tesla Owners Facebook group) at the Oakdale Supercharger station in Minnesota, so the cute vehicle had to travel a few miles for its new life. However, exactly how it is managing to use the Supercharger network is still a mystery.

The best guess is that somebody installed a complete Tesla powertrain, but that still wouldn't put us out of the woods. Fooling the charger requires more work than simply installing the battery pack, motors, and charging port. It has been done in the past - and as long as the vehicle's communication with Tesla is cut off at all times, it can continue to use the charging network - but it's far from a common occurrence.

A man with the nickname "Ingineer" responded to an Electrek article on the subject and confirmed the WestCoaster is indeed using a Tesla powertrain. He also said "it would take most cars off the line," which instantly sent us giggling. That's the ultimate sleeper right there.

Apparently, this was just a test, and the owner does not intend to use the Supercharger network in the future. It belongs to a tour company who wanted a zero-emission vehicle and decided to transform this classic beauty instead of opting for the more modern (and expensive) alternatives. Plus, we doubt a Proterra bus is that quick off the line.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories