Meet The Tesla Cobra Powered By A Kia Soul EV Battery

DIY Tesla Cobra In Progress


Now that EV components are becoming available in salvage yards, DIY race car builders can more easily move to building electrified cars.

This classic 427 Shelby Cobra example features a Tesla P85 drivetrain and a Kia Soul EV battery pack.

Kia Soul EV Lithium-Ion Battery Pack

Kia Soul EV Lithium-Ion Battery Pack

As you can see in the video sent to us by one of its builder – Doug Yip, the chassis is custom fabricated. A group called EPower Racing has been working on the project since December 2015. This spring, it should be ready for testing, and the goal is to have it on the track by this summer.

The group of builders had to join hands with EVTV’s Jack Rickard and Quaife Engineering to put together a special “torque biasing” differential for the vehicle. The Tesla powertrain has essentially too much torque for the chassis to handle, without Tesla’s traction control system. Also, they have added substantial cooling, because overheating is assumed to be an issue. Regen is disabled to allow for better braking, and it is not complementary to racing. Some of the suspension parts come from a Corvette.

The total weight is 1800 pounds, including a driver. Over a third of the weight comes from the 220 pound chassis and roll cage, and the hefty battery pack.

The Kia Soul EV battery pack was chosen due to its substantial energy density. According to testing, it is more capable of maintaining max power for a long period of time than most other choices. It is also remarkably light for a 30 kWh pack, weighing in at only 400 pounds. They acquired the Soul in good shape and were also able to use its onboard charger and some other parts.

The 427 Shelby Cobra body is a molded fiberglass replica of the original car.

Source: DIY Electric Car, Hat tip to Doug Yip!

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14 Comments on "Meet The Tesla Cobra Powered By A Kia Soul EV Battery"

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It will be great to hear results, and how they settle the choice between heat from battery discharge, and endurance. At least they know know the battle.

If recreational track use ever becomes “a thing” for EVs, it’s good to know that most track sessions are fairly short and will give time for charging/cooling in between.

Another (Euro) industrial point of view

I love it too but geez what a great way to get killed. I mean so much power with so little protection.

There’s a word for that… “racing”.


Full roll cage and five point harness will match anything the OEMs have to offer. Airbags are all about protecting people who wouldn’t wear lap belts, let alone a real racing harness.

I have a dream about putting a Tesla drive unit in a 69 C10.

I know it’s a brick, and I know range will be terrible. But I grew up in those trucks, and would love to have an around town Classic EV Cruiser with some power.

I hear you John. I have one, and I’m planning on it. 1971 C10, Tesla drive unit, and diesel genset for long trips. Not certain of the battery yet, but it could be graphene by the time the project is far enough along.

My temporary slysdexia kicked in and I was trying to figure what Karate Kid had to do with EVs.

“Strike First, Strike hard, No Mercy”.

That’s a real step back in technology to us a 60-year-old technology limited slip differential as opposed to the methods employed by Tesla.

It looks like a fun project and professionally done at that. I don’t think I would’ve used the cells from a Kia Soul over the Tesla donor car, however I’ll bet the Kia was really, really cheap!!!

I’d love to see the details of how they package this all up.

Actually, the Quaife differential is a step forward in technology. It puts the power where there is the most traction, without using the(energy wasting) brakes.

Perhaps the Quaife is a step forward from what you’re used to, but Tony knows what he’s talking about. When he speaks up here, you can be assured of that, and that he’s not guessing. He’s right that the Tesla system is ahead of any kind of mechanical torque biasing differential.

That’s not how Tesla controls torque. Any limited slip differential will “put the power where there is the most traction”, but Tesla doesn’t use one at all. It’s all electronic.

I can launch 5000 pounds of Tesla Model S (with me in it) at a bit under 3 seconds to 60mph without a squeak from the tires.

Again, a step back, but it should be fun, because that 60 year old technology limited slip will sure light up the tires!!!

“Any limited slip differential will put the power where there is the most traction” This is not true. An “open” differential, which is the mechanical basis of all differentials (Tesla included) sends torque to wheels based on the path of least resistance. In other words, wheels get power inversely to how much traction they have. All forms of LSDs use some mechanism to bias this back to the other wheel when a slip is detected. This usually means clutch packs or a viscous coupling between the sides. In Tesla’s case they electronically apply the brakes to the slipping wheel (in microseconds) to cause the differential to shift torque to the wheel without the brakes applied. AWD (on a D) lets them also bias torque front or back electronically by manipulating power distribution to the motor in the front or back. But at it’s heart is an open differential which must be manipulated mechanically to be “limited slip”. A quaife is actually an ingenious device that biases torque the way you’d want to. The action of one wheel turning any more than another drives a worm gear that puts the opposite wheel at a mechanical advantage biasing torque back that way.… Read more »
I actually do know rear ends (differentials) quite well. I’ve replaced ring and pinion gears, built a spool once, fiddled with two speed rear ends, etc. I built a Ford 9″ rear end with 4:56 gears and put it in my 1970 Camaro. I built up a 1957-1964 Pontiac / Olds rear end for a 1964 Impala, 4:10 gear set. Lots of 4×4 trucks with locking differentials, mostly the Dana 44/60 and GM 14 Bolt rear. Granted, most of that was decades ago. So, I figured there MIGHT be something new in the last 60 years. After a google search, I couldn’t figure out if this “quaife” was something new. The Gleason-Torsen (TORque SENsing) was a geared locking differential from the 1950’s. I did find a patent for something unique in 1959, patent US 2978929 A. Anyhoo, I’m not really seeing what is so new in the last 60 years, besides the name. If there is something new, I’d love to know what it is. You missed the much larger point. Tesla mitigates wheel spin a number of ways. The best one is reducing torque (amps) when any of the wheels spin, in addition to braking. If you took an… Read more »

I knew “Kit Car Magazine” was almost done when just about every issue was “How to ___ a Cobra Kit”. And every month was just a “fill in the blank” exercise.