Imagine a Tesla Model S with 50% more torque and twice as much horsepower
In a recent interview with Detroit News, former GM executive and all-around car-guy, Bob Lutz, made a small comment that is likely to elicit a big response from Tesla owners. The back story is that just before Fisker Automotive turned itself in to Tucker Automotive a company called VL began to offer conversions of the gorgeous Fisker Karma. “Conversion” meaning rip out the unreliable and now discontinued extended range electric drive (batteries from bankrupt A123) and transplant the powertrain from a Corvette. And not just any Corvette, but rather a ZR1's LS9 supercharged V8.
In the interview there was a misunderstanding. Some took the comment made by Lutz to mean that the company is offering Model S conversions, but at this time the only car that VL offers is the Destino (destiny) that is the Karma body with a heart transplant. However, why not explore the Tesla Model S owners’ thoughts on such a conversion of their pride and joy?
The current Model S Performance has an impressive powertrain already. The vehicle is capable of a 0-60 MPH time of just over 4 seconds. However, there are more logical donor Model S cars with a less expensive and less potent powertrain. Those are more sedate base 60 kWh cars which hit 60 in about 5.5 seconds. With “just” 302 horsepower, an upgrade to the ZR1’s 638 horsepower engine would more than double power. Yes, EV owners like to talk more about torque than power. Well, just off idle the Corvette’s LS9 powertrain creates a twisting moment of about 50% more torque than the Tesla, and at peak, which is just a quick tap of the throttle away, the LS9’s torque is about double that of the lesser Tesla Model S. Oh, and would you like a manual transmission with that? No problem.
The Tesla Model S needs more torque like Newcastle needs more coal in our opinion, but very wealthy car nuts are a strange group. Watch the car auctions on TV to see what we mean. They will pay 6 figures for an old “muscle” car from their youth that would be stomped by a V6 Accord in any situation, or pay 7 figures for an old Italian “supercar” that is the same dimensions a current Mazda Miata, but slower and less reliable. There are also those car nuts that take modern fast cars, pour in well over $50K in upgrades and create insane exotics that are not really much faster than the stock versions of the cars they started with.