Tesla Model 3 Performance Powertrain Surprisingly Found in Toyota Tacoma

Surprise! Model 3 and Tacoma both manufactured in Fremont, CA factory.

Introducing Tescoma. Initially, it appears to be an original Toyota Tacoma truck. Uncomplicated, manufactured in America, and reliable. However, upon closer inspection under the hood, you’ll discover that the gas-powered motor that once purred when the vehicle was brand new is completely absent.

Instead, there are a few orange cables and a large, gleaming metal component with the word “Tesla” engraved on it. However, everything is quiet. Take a few steps closer to the bed and you’ll notice that the object isn’t completely original.

This, ladies and gentlemen, could potentially be the world’s inaugural Toyota Tacoma equipped with half of a Tesla Model 3 Performance drivetrain and undergoing a complete battery replacement. This innovative project was conceived by Drewthecarguy on the Tacoma World forums. He acquired a meticulously maintained 2002 two-wheel drive Tacoma and embarked on transforming it into a unique vehicle.

Having driven a Tesla Model 3 regularly, he became enamored with the immediate torque of electric vehicles. This sparked an idea to transform his old Tacoma into an electric pickup truck.

Staying true to the truck’s initial design, the genius behind the concept opted to install only the rear electric motor sourced from a pre-owned Tesla Model 3 Performance. This decision led to an approximate power output of 300 horsepower. It’s important to note that the Model 3 Performance originally featured a dual-motor configuration, however, the front motor was omitted in this particular project. Furthermore, the electric sedan and the twenty-year-old pickup were both assembled in the same California plant, albeit under different ownership and branding.

Tesla converted Tacoma EV

The high-capacity battery taken from a different Tesla Model 3 was dismantled, and its four modules were separated: two were placed between the chassis rails, and the other two were located in the truck bed under a specially designed covering.

In his social media updates, the constructor revealed that he opted for a Model 3 battery over other options to ensure a full charge would provide approximately 200 miles of range. He explained that retaining all four modules was crucial for the electric motor to function at its required 400 volts. If only two modules were kept, the voltage would have been limited to 200V without the need for additional hardware.

The area known as the penthouse, which typically houses components such as the DC to DC converter, onboard charger, contactors, and battery management system in a Model 3, was moved to the front hood.

Modifications were necessary to adjust the suspension for the additional weight of the batteries, around 1,200 pounds more. To address this, a Ridetech coilover system was implemented. The front brakes were improved by installing second-hand Cadillac ATS calipers and new EVO rotors, which were customized at a nearby machine shop to fit the Tacoma’s hubs. The rear brakes were replaced with brakes sourced from Tesla.

The power steering system is equipped with a Volvo pump, while the power brakes utilize a vacuum pump from a Tesla Model S, both of which are powered by electricity. Additionally, an A/C compressor sourced from a Tesla Model S is also integrated into the system.

Regarding the charging setup, many other Tesla-converted projects retain the EV’s NACS connector and its ability to charge at Superchargers. However, this particular conversion takes a different approach. The individual leading the project opted for an aftermarket drive unit controller from EV Controls and will utilize a J1772 connector for charging in order to reduce costs.

Regarding its performance, the modified Tacoma constructed last year is said to be able to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds. This acceleration is quite quick for a contemporary sporty compact car, let alone a pickup truck that is 22 years old.

The invention was listed for sale multiple times for $25,000, notably on Doug DeMuro’s Cars and Bids platform. The latest advertisement we came across was in an exclusive Facebook group for $15,000, but it has since been taken down, leaving the fate of the EV-converted Tacoma uncertain.

Regardless, we believe it’s a fantastic vehicle and further evidence that the culture of customizing cars will continue even with the rise of electric vehicles. It will simply evolve into something new.

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