Tesla Model S Electric Motor Gets Hacked – Video

Tesla

JUL 12 2015 BY TDILLARD 18

Lest you think Jack Rickard and EVTV are the only guys spinning up Tesla motors on a bench, there’s this guy, Michal Elias, on Youtube showing a very informative and this time (almost) concise (30 minute) video on his exploits.  Go to 12:30 to see it actually spinning up slowly, but it also shows some fun silly-scope shots and a lot of awesome inside bits:

Don’t miss his build/hack blog here.

The Tesla inverter guts

The Tesla inverter guts

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18 Comments on "Tesla Model S Electric Motor Gets Hacked – Video"

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Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu
This is certainly more impressive than the EVTV spin-up of the motor. If I understand correctly, that was just recording the data from Tesla’s own CAN (Controller Area Network), which I take it is part of the power electronics inside the car. If I understand it correctly, that’s like someone recording the moves of a chess master in a tournament match, and playing it back later. A novice chess player can certainly repeat the moves, but that doesn’t mean he understands the strategy at all. Contrariwise, Michal Elias claims to be able to actually control the Model S’s motor; or more precisely, control the integrated motor controller/inverter which controls the motor. At least, Elias is claiming someone using his hacking technique can now put one of these motors in their own hobbyist conversion EV or built-from-scratch EV, and use it to drive the car. Quoting from Elias’s blog: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is actually quite an achievement for me, as this is the most advanced electric car drivetrain in production. And now, anyone can grab a wrecked Tesla Model S, Mercedes B electric, or Toyota RAV4 electric, as they share the same motor, and reuse these motors in any car. Another interesting… Read more »
Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Okay, I found some discussion regarding the motors on the TeslaMotorsClub.com forum. I’m wrong about the RWD P85 having a more powerful motor than the standard 85. It has a more powerful inverter, but the same motor.

So there are only two different motors for the Model S, not three. Interesting that, apparently, Tesla used the same motor for the Toyota RAV4 and the Mercedes B electric.

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/21625-Motor-battery-combo-performance-differences-S60-S85-and-P85

Turbofroggy
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Turbofroggy

The Mercedes B Class/Rav4EV motors are the same motor as the front drive motors in the D Model S’s. They are way smaller than the rear drive motor, I have seen them side by side at the factory.

Michal Elias
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Michal Elias

Interesting. I might have a pre-production version of the Mercedes B then. Because my motor and inverter is exactly the same as in Model S. Friends of mine took apart Model S, so I had a chance to take a good look at it.

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

The front motor used in the Model S “D” EVs is a new motor. I think Airton Azevedo is correct, and that the motor in your car is the same as the older rear Model S motor.

Airton Azevedo
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Airton Azevedo

Nope, the B Class/Rav4EV Drive Units are the identical full size rear motor/inverter used in the rear wheel drive Model S.

Michal Elias
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Michal Elias

Here you have a drawing of the P85D motor configuration. As you can see, the front motor has a different shape and size than the rear motor. It looks nothing like the one you saw in the video:

http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Telsa-Dual-Motor-P85D.jpg

Anon
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Anon

The inverter packaging is gorgeous.

gizmo
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gizmo

i remember Elon saying in some interview when the P85D came out that the front motor on the P85D is there 3rd gen motor. or its their newest design.

Michal Elias
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Michal Elias

Yup, first was the roadster, the second Model S (which seems to have just the max power locked in the software for different batteries), and the third is the P85D front motor. I don’t think that Mercedes got the P85D motor, as they started developing this car long time ago, in the time where P85D motor did not even exist (the same for RAV4 electric). But it is possible that there is or will be a version of Mercedes B that will have this third gen P85D motor – why not I guess. Using 300kW motor and limiting it to 150kW is a waste of resources (weight, cost, space)

Bill Howland
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Bill Howland
Having to change out the drive unit due to an overloaded murmering gearbox isn’t exactly a conservation of resources. As mentioned these things are designed and built by a supplier company, as most other automakers also do. The only down side is that with ‘field testing’ – that is unhappy customers actually using the product, you get to find out their flaws/limitations much after the sale. I can’t criticize Toyota or Mercedes for running a design with few hours under its belt a bit conservatively. If you never have to replace it, THAT is the best conservation of resources. I had a later 2011 Roadster (vers 2.5) that had many things replaced due to crappy design – main cooling fan 4 times, heater evaporator once, and Power electronics module – all under warranty or when the service center destroyed things after letting hammer mechanics loose on the car. I sold the car after considering the car’s current resale value, and likely ongoing expenses out of warranty. I have always run into several people who state overbuilding something is a ‘waste of money/resources’, but then they have no problem replacing a mediocre design 4 times. At that point it is no… Read more »
Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Bill Howland said:

“As mentioned these things are designed and built by a supplier company, as most other automakers also do.”

While Tesla farmed out manufacture of the Roadster motor, they moved production in-house for the Model S. In fact, I’ve seen an episode of the “How It’s Made” TV show that shows motor windings being installed, partially by hand, in Tesla’s Fremont plant. (All this was heavily discussed in comments on another Tesla-related article here at InsideEVs. I think I was still posting as “Lensman” in those comments.)

Bill Howland
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Bill Howland

More nonsense.

Bill Howland
Guest
Bill Howland

Lensman or whomever you are, the Antecedent was gearbox not motor.

Bill Howland
Guest
Bill Howland

Very interesting, cost-reduced compact design. The model S from the start was designed to minimize the high-current lengths to just about the minimum possible.

If he has already gotten the prius and volt equipment to work, I doubt he’ll have much problem putting the unit in whatever car he wants to try.

The only thing I don’t understand is, since the unit (motor plus inverter plus gearbox) is such a nice compact unit, why not use it intact? That is provided it doesn’t have a murmering gearbox, but even if it did, can’t he chance having it drive a car at reduced power and stress?

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

The Model S drivetrain is optimized for a car of the exact size, weight, and weight distribution of a Model S. Put it into another car, and you might want a different reduction gear ratio.

This would be especially true of someone building an EV racecar. I can certainly see someone wanting to put a powerful Model S drivetrain into a smaller car, for better acceleration and top speed. They will almost certainly want to fiddle with the gear ratio to optimize for racing.

Michal Elias
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Michal Elias

Yes, once you do reverse engineer few inverters, it starts to be a bit repetitive.

Anyway, I intend to use the unit “as is”. The reason why is it separated on the video is just out of convenience during debugging. Normally you don’t want to have long wires hanging around 🙂

Jack Rickard
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“This is certainly more impressive than the EVTV spin-up of the motor. If I understand correctly, that was just recording the data from Tesla’s own CAN (Controller Area Network), which I take it is part of the power electronics inside the car. If I understand it correctly, that’s like someone recording the moves of a chess master in a tournament match, and playing it back later. A novice chess player can certainly repeat the moves, but that doesn’t mean he understands the strategy at all.” Your understanding of this is totallybolluxed up. Yes, as part of the PROCESS of decoding teh can messages we have played back a recording from an actual car. Then we begin to eliminate CAN messages that are not needed to drive the Tesla Drive Unit Then we decode the remaining necessary CAN messages to determine what they actually do/correspond to in the Inverter. Then we write software from scratch that will allow us to alter those modes and values, and subsequently send them to the inverter to control the Drive Unit. The end result is a controller that can drive any Tesla Drive Unit – as found. Michael’s approach is to REPLACE the control board… Read more »