Tesla Model S Gets Boost With Jet Engine Upgrade

Showing off the jet powered tesla

Tesla is well known for making cars that can accelerate quickly, but there’s always room for improvement. [Warped Perception] decided that his Tesla Model S P85D needed that little bit of extra oomph (despite the 0-60 MPH or 0-97 km/h time of 3.1 seconds), so he did what any sensible person would: add three jet turbines to the back of his car.

The best part of this particular build is the engineering and fabrication that made this happen. With over 200 pieces and almost all personally fabricated, this is a whirlwind of a build. The control panel is first, and there’s a particularly clever technique of 3D printing the lettering directly onto the control panel for the flat stuff. Then for the pieces with angles that would prevent the head from moving freely, he printed onto a plastic sheet in reverse, applied glue, then stuck the letters to the plate as a sheet. A top layer of clear coat ensures the letters won’t come off later.

Using a 3D printer to apply lettering on the control panel.

He installed the control electronics in the trunk with wiring strung from the car’s front to the rear. Three Arduinos serve as controllers for the jets. Afterward, came the bracket to hold the engines and attach it to the car’s underside. Unfortunately, supplies were a little hard to come by, so he had to make do with what was on hand. As a result it didn’t come out as strong as he would have hoped, but it’s still pretty impressive.

[Warped Perception] does a few tests before taking it out on the road. Then, he shifted the car into neutral and could drive the car solely on jet power, which was one of his goals. While we don’t love the idea of testing a jet engine on public roads, it certainly would discourage tailgaters.

Next, he finds a quieter road and does some speed tests. Unfortunately, it was drizzling, and the pavement was damp, putting a damper on his 0-60 standing times. Electric-only he gets 4.38 seconds, and turning on the jets plus electric shaves that down to 3.32 seconds. Overall, an incredible build that’s sure to draw a few curious glances whenever you’re out on the town.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Tesla, perhaps instead of jet engines, you might opt for a robot to plug it in for you?

72 thoughts on “Tesla Model S Gets Boost With Jet Engine Upgrade

    1. “This rather defeats the point of electric vehicles.”
      I suppose that depends on what percentage of one’s driving time they turn them on.

      ” Any fool can burn fossil fuels inefficiently like this…….”
      I very much doubt that. Most would probably just hurt themselves.

    2. This website is called hackaday, not treehugger day.

      Nothing wrong with fossil fuel cars. Modern diesels have fewer emissions than electric cars. And the internal combustion engine is still being improved.

        1. There is some truth to this

          First off is the point that the production of a Tesla vehicle already has significantly more CO2 emissions as it sits in the show room. So it’s used up a lot of it’s CO2 budget compared to an equivalent ICE vehicle just waiting for an owner.

          Now if we get that out of the way it’s important to look at the lifetime of the vehicle. Because although it’s true making the EV just cost more CO2 then an equivalent ICE vehicle, it can make up for it. It’s all about where you drive it.

          Research done by Massachusetts Institute of Technology has shown that in areas where the power grid is primarily or only coal powered, Teslas emit more CO2 then an equivalent petrol vehicle. This makes complete sense as coal emits significantly more CO2 for the same amount of energy gained from gasoline. You can argue that efficiency of energy gained from Coal at a station vs Gasoline in an engine, or the supply chain of coal vs. oil. But at the end of the day coal still produces more CO2 per KW then Gasoline with this all factored in.

          Teslas power from renewable grids are absolutely cleaner and greener then any equivalent ICE vehicle in their lifetimes. There is no argument to that. They make up for their higher CO2 production and the disposal and replacement of spent batteries.

          As said it really depends on where your juice comes from. Here in New Zealand at the time of writing this we are producing 4982MW nationally. Only 419MW of that is from Gas and it looks like all of our coal stations are not producing anything which is fantastic. So we’re at 92% renewable at the time of writing and a good place to charge an EV.

          But there are plenty of places in the world that are coal puffing beasts and any EV charged there is going to be a bigger emitter.

          The argument is there for both sides of the EV vs. ICE debate. What we need to do is turn our focus to power generation to get EVs doing what they are meant to do globally.

          1. most places usually don’t set up their power grids on coal alone though, with at least some portion of baseload coming from nuclear and/or renewables (like hydro). while there are coal and other fossil fuel based plants, they usually come on line last to meet peek demands. so you can make your tesla cleaner or dirtier based on when you charge it.

          2. There are so many assumptions and prerequisites being made in this argument, it only applies to a fraction of electric cars despite being claimed about them all. That’s not good statistics or science. Your elaboration on it aside, the original claim was about emissions, not carbon footprints. There’s a difference.

          3. I tried to find the MIT study you mention which claims the EVs cause more carbon emission if the grid is mostly coal powered but failed. I tried to find similar claims etc but came up empty. That claim seems to be incorrect.

            Just as an example of the content I found:
            “Even in the worst case scenario where an EV is charged only from a coal-fired grid, it would generate an extra 4.1 million grams of carbon a year while a comparable gasoline car would produce over 4.6 million grams”

            Src: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/when-do-electric-vehicles-become-cleaner-than-gasoline-cars-2021-06-29/

            Note that the gasoline car will keep doing that or possibly more as it ages where the EV will be causing decreasing emissions as the grid improves.

          4. Coal represents 10% of the US electric grid generation capacity. It was at 30% a couple years ago; coal plants are getting shut down left and right because solar and wind are cheaper than any other form of electricity generation.

            Try again.

          5. @John

            You best take that up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology it’s their research and their science I’m quoting.

            As for the CO2 vs Gasoline point. Pick where ever you like to look into that, there are decades of good science to read through. Without writing an entire paper on the topic 1KWhpe of coal produces 354grams of CO2 the same 1KWhpe of gasoline produces 250grams of CO2. Coal stations are on average 39% efficient while ICE engines are on average 33% efficient. 1KWh of energy put to a wheel can indeed cost more CO2 in an EV vs. an ICE

            Dirty grids make dirty EVs. Clean up the grids and we clean our EVs.

            I do like EVs and I look forward to owning one. But it can’t be ignored that their positive and negative impact varies around the world. And according to Massachusetts Institute of Technologies research it can vary within a country.

            My original point was there was “Some” truth to the person who claimed that Diesels have fewer emissions, though they we’re rather disingenuous about it. Though I did use Gasoline in my points because that’s where I’ve perilously read studies and i tend to only comment when i know what I’m talking about.

      1. > Modern diesels have fewer emissions than electric cars.

        Care to explain how that works? I don’t think electric cars have any emissions at all.

        If you’re factoring in power generation, then make sure you adjust for increasing use of renewables, and even fossil fuel power generation is much more efficient at scale compared to the tiny engine in your car revving up and down every stop light or lane merge.

        If you’re factoring in manufacturing, then make sure you factor in the emissions created manufacturing ICE cars too.

        1. So called renewables are unreliable and expensive. The only decent one being hydro. Most of the world doesn’t get enough sunlight to make solar worthwhile and yes diesels are incredibly efficient. My turbo diesel yaris gets 75 mpg on the highway 45 in the city. Those lithium batteries in electric cars degree in a few years are are terrible for the environment. We should be pushing towards more small diesel engines (sub 2 litre) and ramp up nuclear power. Once we have cheap nuclear and better battery than current lithium then electric will make sense until then the rich virtue signallers will push their crappy teslas without any regard for the average person. France is almost fully nuclear and no issues there.

          A good middle ground for those who must use gasoline/petrol is the hybrids made by for example Toyota. Decent efficiency but still have engines for longer travel. Plus they last for upwards of 250k miles with some reaching 500k

          1. This. But, also, with enough cheap electricity from nuclear, you could synthesize diesel from atmospheric CO2 and hydrogen from splitting water, then have “electric” cars with the range of liquid fuel, without the radical change in infrastructure that wholesale switching to battery-powered cars would require

          2. Your prejudice is showing. Tesla’s are anything but crappy. My bottom tier Model 3 handles better and is faster than my old BMW M5. It has top end interior and costs a little more than a Prius. Add to that the fact that I NEVER need to change my oil or worry about a break down or needing service. And it should last just about forever. If you ignore the fact that I never have to stop for gas again and just judge the car on it’s merits and price it is the best car end of story.

          3. “Most of the world doesn’t get enough sunlight to make solar worthwhile […]”

            I take issue with your “most of the world” phrase. You may be from the UK where it never stops raining, but most of the world is not like that. You should try traveling.

          4. Wind and solar are cheaper than any other form of energy right now. Nuclear is the most expensive form of power generation there is.

            In the US in one year we installed 19GWhr of solar and wind, and both solar and wind deployment rates at grid/utility scale are skyrocketing.

            Why are HAD comments a cesspool of climate-change deniers spewing blatantly false information that can be checked with a simple google search?

        2. I’m not just talking about CO2. The tires of vehicles put particulates in the air. The heavier the vehicle the more the tires wear out. Electric cars are heavier.
          If you conveniently ignore power generation for electric cars than I can also point out that hydrocarbon powered cars can have their fuel generated by nuclear reactors, effectively making them electric cars.

    3. And making electricity or electric vehicles requires no fossil fuels right?
      Also no, a fool can not create a jet engine mount / control system / fuel system from scratch. That is a very hateful thing to say about someone who is clearly a genius.

  1. I’m gonna be “that guy” on this one:

    After all that effort that went into building this thing, he goes out and tests it in traffic on the freeway? I mean. it’s probably not the most dangerous thing on American roads, but still, why take that risk? It’s not even a good test.

    Then the “strip” for doing the 0-60 tests is another public road (with 30mph speed limit clearly posted). And to top it off, the drone shot weaving under/over power lines….

    And again, it’s not a good test. He had an EV benchmark in the 2 seconds in good conditions, then demonstrates 4 seconds with EV only, then two runs with EV + turbines in the 3 seconds. Maybe end it by doing another EV run to see if it wasn’t just due to tires heating up.

  2. However cool this is, I’m sure it’s not street legal. Colin Furze has built various jet-powered vehicles, but he has the sense to test them on an old airfield, not on public roads.

    1. The difference is that Colin Furze lives in the UK, and this is in the wild wild West :)
      I don’t know the specifics, but in general you’ll find that, in comparison to Europe, the US has much more stringent regulation on relatively safe things and much looser regulation on very dangerous things.

  3. I was shocked that fool turned them on on the highway. If someone dies he could be charged with first degree murder.

    Powering powerful jet engines with badly wired cheap Arduinos is asking for trouble.

      1. IANAL either, but more likely manslaughter, at least in the US. This is the charge made when someone does something that they know could kill, but without intending to kill, but kills someone in the process.

      2. Depending on the country or state you live in drunk drivers can be charged with first degree murder in some cases. A drunk at least has an excuse of having an addiction. This guy carefully planned to put jet engines with flames coming out of them on the back of his car.

      1. It’s the law that stipulates the red flag is required. You argument only would make sense if people WEREN’T doing the sensible thing by making protruding objects easier to see with red flags. Hanging rockets on the back of your car is not the sensible thing. It does nothing to protect the people behind the car. You’re missing the point or don’t understand cause and effect.

    1. It’s an engineering question I was wondering about. What happens if an arduino fails? Does the jet engine shut down automatically, or does it stay on at full power? Is there any redundancy in his system? Can the jet engines overpower the car brakes?

  4. Neat experiment. An expensive experiment (Tesla + Jet Engines), but neat. Always cool to someone thinking outside the box that nay-sayers would like to criticize (not safe, shocking, sky if falling, planet is warming, planet is cooling, gasp using fossil fuels, etc. etc. etc.) . I’d like to get into Jet R/C aircraft but to expensive for me. Oh, and nothing wrong with burning fossil fuels. A natural resource to be used for energy until we come up with a truly cost competitive alternate. Not there yet.

    1. I’m just guessing, but I think these used in some remote control aircraft, by people who want a model jet to look like a jet, and with more power than a ducted fan.

  5. I think he might have had better luck mounting the jet engines higher above the trunk for better air flow to the jet engines. Mounting where it is has to be be cutting off some air and potential power. Maybe or maybe not just my guess.

    1. I doubt these really provide much thrust. The absence of specs is suspicious in and of itself.
      Their real benefit may just be filling in the vacuum drag behind the vehicle, thus making the vehicle faster..

      1. He has earlier videos where he built a test rig and measured thrust using various fuels. The test rig was a sliding sled with springs resisting the thrust and a calibrated scale. He was getting 280N per jet engine when using jet fuel. Tesla 3 standard does 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds and weighs 1800kg which is equivalent to 9.43kN. Tesla 3 performance does 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds and weighs 1850kg which is equivalent to 16.6kN. The three jet engines would add 9% additional force to a standard Tesla 3 and 5% additional force to a performance model. That’s not insignificant. If the weight increase is under 90kg (5%) then its a net win.

  6. In a car that has enough native acceleration for most situations, turbojets don’t seem like the right answer, mainly because they take time to spool up, and by then your need is probably gone, and leaving them idling all the time wastes fuel and puts wear on the engines, and STILL they need time to spool up. This is probably a better application for solid rockets. Kind of like nitrous on IC engines, they provide boost RIGHT NOW. And if mounted in a rack with rotary switch for the igniters, you can twist the knob as far as you want, depending on just how much boost you want.

    Just a thought – I’ve kind of left the “need for speed” phase of my life, so I won’t be trying this.

    Or HAVE I? It also occurs to me that putting this much effort into a car that already knows how to get out of its own way is marginally useful. Now, mounting rockets on a Geo/Chevy Metro or a Kia/Ford Festiva, THAT would be useful.

    But then there’s that popular Darwin Award story about the rocket-assisted car…

        1. Because of curiosity, as in “I wonder if it would work”. It doesn’t have to be a practical end product, just about the discovery and satisfaction that goes along with getting it done and getting results.

    1. If this isn’t a site for people who care about the planet they live on and its environment, why are there so many weather station builds and environment cleanup projects posted and hosted here? Maybe it’s not the right site for someone who thinks rolling coal is a good hack.

      1. It’s a site about hacking things. It is not about hacking things in specific subjects. Just because there are hacks about saving the environment it does not make the site hack_a_day_but_do_it_only_if_the_hack_makes_the_world_greener_and_safer_oh_and_kittens_are_adorable.com

        This makes the site for everyone interested in hacking, whereas a site with such an url as the one I just made up would be for hacking related only for tree huggers and people who think kittens are adorable.

        1. You made the first claim about people being on the wrong site, but then you admitted this is a site for all hackers, which would include the “tree hugging” hackers. So maybe stop saying it’s the wrong site for some only when it suits your end goals, but then you move the goal posts when it allows you to exclude others. Come on, don’t be quite so transparently hypocritical. If people want to complain about a hack, that’s their business. You don’t own this site, which is lucky for the site, cause you’d probably run it into the ground with your attitude. I hear Trump has a new social network for people with your mindset. Maybe you should look into it.

          1. If one takes the time to comment only about the fact that it creates emissions and any moron can burn fossil fuels, then yes, I believe that comment is in the wrong site, as this hack had no intention whatsoever to be green or not. From watching the video, it was pretty clear to me that the hack was about doing something and whether it would work or not.

            I think it would be perfectly fine to comment, good or bad, about the hack’s or hackers technical aspects, and in there also add something like “and it’s too bad it creates fossil fuel emissions too”

            I voted for Hillary, even though I could have voted for Mickey Mouse. I’ll just leave at that.

  7. I don’t understand people’s obsession with arduinos, they are slow, only 8 bit and made for beginners, so why does just about every project use an Arduino? If you are attaching jet engines to a car you are probably able to use something a bit more powerful. Also using 3 arduinos, one for each jet engine seems unnecessary, surely the control signals for each jet engine could all be sent by one microcontroller. If you can’t do it with a single Arduino that probably means you need a better microcontroller rather than just add more arduinos.

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