Magna invited our own Kyle Conner to try out its EtelligentForce heavy duty electric vehicle powertrain solution, which they were testing in a GMC Sierra 2500 somewhere in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And since Kyle was there, he also had a go in a very unique three-motor Tesla Model S prototype that runs a Magna driveline and battery pack.
Before Kyle drove the electric Sierra, he first tried a V8-powered version of the same vehicle, just to have something to compare the electric prototype to. This has two Magna motors and a battery pack with just over 80 kWh capacity, giving it a total power output rating of 547 horsepower (408 kW) and similar acceleration to a dual motor Tesla Model Y.
Magna wants to offer its eBeam and battery pack as a standalone solution for heavy duty vehicle EV conversions and what really struck Kyle during his prototype drive was just how well integrated it all seemed. For an ICE truck that has had its powertrain removed and replaced with electric motors and a battery pack, it all just seemed to work like it would if it came from the factory in this configuration.
This is high praise for Magna’s electrification program, but it didn’t get this good overnight. The company has been working on its EV tech and improving it over the years and Kyle was fortunate enough to be allowed access to seven year-old Tesla Model S that had its original motors and battery removed, replaced with Magna’s own.
The Tesla-Magna Frankenstein prototype has to be one of the coolest Teslas we’ve come across (because it's an unofficial early Plaid), but it’s not the first one we experienced used as a testbed for a different company’s powertrain. One of our European editors, Andrei Nedelea, got the chance to briefly drive a Tesla Model 3 with a combustion engine that was used as a test platform by Austrian company Obrist.