Carbuzz shared the story of Rich B, who is converting a Tesla into an ICE vehicle. Yes, you read that right. Rich, who is the creator of the YouTube Channel, Rich Rebuilds, has a passion for vehicles and is known for his videos repairing Tesla. Rich has been converting a Tesla Model S into a gas-powered V8 hot rod with parts from a scrapped Chevrolet Camaro.
The Model S that Rich is converting was destined to go to the scrapyard, so in essence, he saved it from that fate. Carbuzz noted that this could be looked upon as upcycling which is great for the environment, but converting an EV into a vehicle that will contribute towards the pollution of our air, to me, doesn’t make sense. There are other ways that vehicle could have been spared from the scrapyard.
In Rich’s latest video, he installed a six-speed manual into the car which brings it a step closer to being ready to drive. The 426-horsepower 6.2 V8 engine took a bit more effort to install than Rich first anticipate. The effort ended up requiring custom CV axles and an extensive modification to the tub of the Model S. Also, once the battery pack was removed, the chassis needed additional bracing.
Other changes including cutting the floor and firewall of the Tesla, removal of the dashboard, and a major change to the suspension. The standard air suspension was replaced with a set of traditional coil-overs and Carbuzz noted that this was probably to save on time while preventing headaches and hassles in the future.
At first, I wanted to yell at my computer. The thoughts running through my head were “Whyyyy?” and “That poor Tesla,” as if it were a person and not a machine. Tesla vehicles are electric and they don’t create any tailpipe emissions which is one of the major sources of air pollution globally. Converting an EV into an ICE vehicle is just backward and a slap in the face of innovation—or is it?
Generally, yes, but seeing Rich’s reasoning behind why he chose to do it and knowing his passion for cars in general, I get it. The impacts of scrap metal on the environment. While converting an EV to ICE seems senseless, scrap metal recycling actually helps reduce CO2 emissions from cars, factories, and even electricity generation. It prevents waste from ending up in a landfill and reduces the use of chemicals that are needed for ore mining, in turn, preventing those chemicals from entering the water table. Mining metals also require the use of fossil fuels.
I used to keep my cans from sodas and give them to a neighbor who recycles them. I’ve since quit drinking soda, but I do wash and recycle my cans from cat food and other canned items–this is something that my mother, who was born in 1946 and taught the Depression-era ways of making ends meet–instilled in me. Save your cans, recycle them and buy food was her motto.
Could there have been a better way to upcycle that Model S? Most definitely, I think. This Model S will now become a unique oddity and it could inspire others to convert EVs back to gas. But even if it does, the future is clear and our path is in the direction of clean, electric vehicles. There will come a point in time where any type of ICE vehicle is odd or rare so one can look at what Rich is doing as a form of artistic expression.
Personally, I don’t agree that this was the best solution but that’s just my opinion. I commend Rich on saving that Model S and keeping it out of the scrapyard.