SEMA 2021: LS3-Swapped Tesla Causes A Stir

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is in full swing, and we have seen several manufactures here at the SEMA show this year with a host of EV parts. We have witnessed EV drivetrains stuffed in everything from modern cars to vintage. Even Hot Rod has jumped on board with this movement and installed an electric motor in the famous yellow ’57 Chevy known as Project X. And while this conversion has a lot of people up in arms, there is one car at the show that is sure to enrage environmentalists around the globe. Rich Benoit has taken a state-of-the-art EV vehicle and converted it to a fossil fuel-burning LS engine with a six-speed transmission, no less.

Benoit is no stranger when it comes to EV vehicles and has actually built some in the past, like an electric rat rod, among other creations. And since he has a Tesla parts car laying around, he decided to do an LS swap. Benoit said, “I’ve owned a few Teslas before, and as a car enthusiast, it’s hard because I’m so used to power sound and vibrations of a muscle car, and even though the Tesla is arguably faster, you lose all of those sensations. So, I said, you know what? I love the looks of the car. I also love the sound of a rumbling V8, so why not combine the two?” So Benoit ran with this idea of marrying the two radically different platforms and stuffed an LS with a six-speed transmission in one of Elon Musk’s technologically advanced vehicles.

If you’ve watched Benoit’s videos on YouTube, you know that building this car was a huge undertaking. He said, “The entire build was a headache and challenge. We pretty much had to cut the car in half to build a transmission tunnel and cut out the front subframe to get the engine to fit.” But not everything was complicated. For example, Benoit said, “once we removed the battery pack, there are about 4-inches of space that allowed us to run Vibrant Performance oval tubing.”

For now, the 6.2-liter LS3 engine in the car is completely stock. However, Benoit said he wanted to do the build in stages and eventually up the power in the future. Plans include a built motor, a supercharger, and possibly a visit from climate activist Greta Thunberg. But for that, we will have to wait and see.

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About the author

Brian Havins

A gearhead for life, Brian is obsessed with all things fast. Banging gears, turning wrenches, and praying while spraying are just a few of his favorite things.
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