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Tesla Swaps: The LS Swap of the EV Revolution
Much to the chagrin of the governments of California, New York, and the European Union, you just can't get people to stop modifying their cars. Even taking the engines out and replacing them with glorified laptop batteries didn't stop that from happening.

Tesla Swaps: The LS Swap of the EV Revolution

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That said, we'd be wrong to say the way people think about modifying their vehicles hasn't matured and gotten with the times. There will always be a place in this world for V8s and LS swaps. But once you see a well-sorted Tesla swap, your entire perspective can't help but be changed.

We've showcased our fair share of Tesla motor swaps into other vehicles on autoevolution. Be it Land Rovers, pre muscle cars, or 90s JDM icons. But don't be deceived, there are DIY gurus out there that make these kinds of swaps look easy, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Unless your chosen vehicle is one of a handful of established few that have already had EV/Tesla swaps performed on them already, you're diving headfirst into uncharted waters. Say what you will about Tesla, or the man in charge, but the engineering tucked inside the company's electric drive system is nothing short of astonishing.

Tesla induction motors are remarkably unlike run-of-the-mill electric engines you find in things like golf carts, lawnmowers, and bumper cars. Yes, they may have been phased out by newer tech that works using principles anyone other than a physicist would describe as witchcraft. But all that means is salvaged and used Teslas, usually the Model S, began to become available at the tail end of the last decade.

What that means to people who grew up on CCs and Cubic Inches instead of Watts and Volts is simple. There's a blossoming abundance of quality used electric motors ready to be recycled in the best way possible. By finding their way under the hoods of classics, you never would have guessed would have them.

In some cases, you can even find used Model S induction motors of the older style on eBay. Lest we ever forget the time What's Inside on YouTube purchased one and proceeded to dissect it like the Roswell Alien. Safe to say, there are plenty of avenues to get your hands on a Tesla motor if you desire to have one.

These electric motors, outdated as they are, still have some pretty fantastic engineering behind them. They integrate securely into the underside of the car, housed in between two half-shafts which the brake rotors and calipers are also attached to underneath the car's suspension. There are no funny memes of some dork feeding a huge lumbering hunk of steel that is a "normal" electric motor we're all familiar with here. It's all much more tidy and refined than that.

These are all engineering traits that lend themselves ever more towards their use in other vehicles. Not the least because you can now put a frunk where the engine used to be if you chose. It's not like that space is needed for other things anymore. Tesla explored the idea of a two-speed gearbox in the original Tesla Roadster almost 15 years ago. But as that couldn't be made reliable cheaply, Tesla vehicles have always stuck to a one-speed gear reduction.

As an electric motor doesn't require a transmission to operate, DIY engine swappers often find that removing the transaxle entirely is much preferable to trying and making it work with it intact. For fans of EV swaps, this isn't much of a loss. But for folks who enjoy ripping through the gears, it might sting much more. Still, one press of your right foot and feeling the king's share of torque usually helps people warm up to the idea.

But just like with an LS swap or any engine swap for that matter, there are unforeseen bumps in the road that can make you want to throw wrenches across shop floors and scream obscenities that would make your elders smack you in the mouth. Engine swaps have never been easy. It's only because we've seen so many great mechanics build wonderful examples online and in video games that some assume it is. DIY masters across the world can and have spent thousands of hours working out all the fine details in the field.

Then, of course, there's the problem of Tesla's notorious customer service. DIY custom car influencers can and have been hassled and denied service by Tesla's parts supply division. Especially in the early days, it was difficult to get so much as a wheel nut cover from Tesla without explicit explanations as to what you plan to do with it.

But once again, there are avenues around this issue, and you'll no doubt notice that Tesla's legal department has been suspiciously absent from the inboxes of YouTubers and Instagrammers who use third-party methods to acquire their parts without explicit consent.

Tesla couldn't rule its parts department with an iron fist forever, after all. It only means more and more of these fantastic Tesla swaps are not going to stop any time soon.

 
 
 
 
 

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