The Polaris RZR RS1 UTV has a one-liter, two-cylinder engine that from the factory has around 100 horsepower, making the 1,383-pound (627-kilogram) UTV very quick. But there’s always room for more power in one of these vehicles, and instead of fettling with its engine, one dune vehicle aficionado decided to swap in the rear drive motor out of a Tesla Model 3 / Model Y.
We don’t know how many of the battery modules the put in the vehicle, but it doesn’t appear to be much heavier than stock and it goes up sand dunes with remarkable ease. Depending on which version of Model 3 was the motor donor, the drive unit could have either 261 or 325 horsepower, as long as the battery pack can supply enough wattage and voltage.
Gallery: Tesla-Swapped Polaris RZR
Judging by how easily it flies up the steep sand dune, almost lifting the front wheels off the ground under harder acceleration, it’s safe to say it looks like a real hoot. The steep grade you see it tackling in the video uploaded by the electric UTV’s creator, Ron Cobbley, is located in the St. Anthony, Idaho sand dunes.
We found more videos on vehicle’s official Instagram account and aside from how interesting it is to see an electric powertrain in an application like this (and how it changes the vehicle), we also noticed that you really hear the tires on the sand more. Usually, this sound is drowned out by the engine.
The sound’s tone and pitch probably change with speed, giving the driver audible information to help him or her gauge their speed. You don’t really get this in a road-going EV driven on tarmac, which is why it’s trickier to drive an EV quickly - specifically because you have no way of knowing how fast you’re going just by ear.