Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 7 months ago
Tuning

Tesla Model 3 Has Its Battery Removed To Make Way For A Diesel Engine

Rich Rebuilds’ follow-up to the V8-powered ‘Ice-T’ Tesla Model S is a Model 3 powered by a Cummins diesel engine

Remind me later

Self-repairing a Tesla is easier said than done. As a sort of commentary on this/an excuse to do something awesome, YouTube channel Rich Rebuilds recently stuck a GM LS3 V8 in a flood-damaged Model S. It took an enormous amount of work, but the results are incredible.

Following up that project with something equally attention-grabbing is no small feat, but Rich has managed it. The new plan is to put a diesel engine in a Model 3, creating the ‘Model D’. Specifically, it’s a Cummins 4BT unit from an old step van, something sometimes referred to as a ‘bread truck’.

Tesla - Tesla Model 3 Has Its Battery Removed To Make Way For A Diesel Engine - Tuning

The reason for an old Cummins? They’re cheap, often paired with manual gearboxes, and are disarmingly simple - no fault code reading here to worry about. The Cummins in question is the 3.9-litre inline-four 4BT, chosen since its shorter block length will make for an easier fit in the nose of a Model 3.

Before it can go in, the Tesla’s battery pack must be dropped from the car. In a Model S, this job is said to take about 20 minutes, but the process is much more involved for the 3, taking a few hours.

We’re much less accustomed to seeing an electric car stripped down, so it’s fascinating to see things like all the wiring and the draining of the battery coolant. One interesting note is just how thin the metal is on the battery casing - this is likely the source of the ‘thunking’ noises Model 3 owners report they hear when supercharging the car.

Since Rich and the team like to do things properly, the Model D’s build process will probably be lengthy, but what they come up with will almost certainly be worth the wait.