Tesla-Powered 818 Subaru Kit Car Does 1/4-Mile In 10.1 Seconds – Video

OCT 4 2016 BY MARK KANE 21

There is huge potential in the Tesla powertrain.

A converted 818 kit car that normally houses Subaru WRX components, now equipped with a Tesla P85 rear-wheel drive unit, has become one of the quickest EVs, achieving a 10.155 seconds @ 126.37 mph performance result on the quarter mile.

Tesla-Powered Subaru 818

Tesla-Powered Subaru 818

That’s much improved over even the 10.7958 seconds recently posted by the new Tesla Model S P100DL itself! In this case, the size, and more importantly the weight, of the production Tesla prevents it from hitting the low 10 seconds.

The author of the conversion adds that he believes by next Spring his DIY EV will go below 10 seconds.

Power is supplied via two sets of original/gen 1 Chevrolet Volt batteries (32 kWh total) to power the beast.

“Tesla powered 818 sports car runs 10.1 @126
We swapped the S85 tesla drive unit for a P85 drive unit, installed larger drag radials and this is the result. Had to modulate the power on launch for all the runs, so on a race prepped track a high 9 second pass should be possible.
Includes in car video.”

“The batteries (two chevy volt battery packs in parallel ~32 KWh) have been performing beautifully. They sag less than a Tesla 85KWh pack at the same power level according to my logs so far. I will be doing a range test next week, I expect something over 200 km.”

A previous run (a month ago) with the S85 powertrain also was pretty quick:

“10 second Tesla powered 818.
This is the second time out for this car, this time with drag radials. We were traction limited last time, but that problem is solved with these tires. The car’s trap speed is still limited by gearing, due to the fact the Tesla drive unit is geared for much taller tires that will not fit on this car.
The car is currently running an S85 (not P85) drive unit, with two chevy volt battery packs wired in parallel, a chevy volt charger and DC/DC converter, Subaru STI brakes and custom axles. We control the drive unit, charger and DC/DC converter with our own software and hardware that we designed in house. Car has just over 200 km’s or range. We brought a P85D to race against this time for fun.”

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21 Comments on "Tesla-Powered 818 Subaru Kit Car Does 1/4-Mile In 10.1 Seconds – Video"

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BTW it’s not really a Subaru 818, as the 818 is a Factory Five kit car, designed to accept Subaru running gear from an STi/WRX. Now that nearly all of that is Tesla/Volt hardware I’m not sure the Subaru part of this car is particularly relevant… though it sounds like it’s almost certainly still running Subaru suspension and uprights/brakes. Cool project, though! I wonder if there’s a build thread somewhere?

Two packs in Parallel? I wish we were told the reason why. Never knew the advantages for ut, aside from battery balancing at the cellular level.

The reason is to be able to pull the level of amps needed for drag racing. Those LG cells have a higher C rating than Tesla’s cells, but you still need enough of them in parallel to get the job done. You can get huge power from a small pack, for a short period of time, if the C rating is high enough.

Warren got the answer for you. Series wiring will increase your voltage, parallel will increase the amperage you can pull from the packs. In this case, he has doubled the amp draw that he can pull

The S40, S60, S70, S75 and S85 rear wheel drive motor has an peak output of 382 hp. Two Volt packs in parallel would have a peak output of about 300 hp.

So there isn’t really a production battery out there that is small enough with a high enough discharge rate yet to make use of all 382 horses in that S85 motor.

People usually talk about battery advancement in terms of energy density and getting more range but things also start to get interesting when standard 50-60 kWh production packs begin to get higher C rates. Once that barrier is removed then lower priced sports EVs will be not only possible but will dominate the equivalent lower price ICE sports cars in acceleration.

The American muscle cars that are good for straight line acceleration will be the first to take a back seat to a mid-20K priced 400 hp EV.

And you can only imagine then what kind of monster output numbers can be had with a pack with this higher C rate AND a large 100-120 kWh pack.

Link below states the car makes 400 HP. Do you have different source that car makes less?

This is the same car that I sent a tip to IEV many centuries ago. More details in link below: 400 HP, 2500 lb


Back then, it was “only” doing 11.5. Glad to see it can beat P100DL in quarter mile now. Hot rods should beat factory cars!

Also as pointed out, 818 kit car is made to accept Subaru motor, not “Subaru-818”.

“the size, and more importantly the weight, of the production Tesla prevents it from hitting the low 10 seconds”

I don’t think that’s the case. 818 had to do burnout to warm up the tires to have enough traction to make the run. I think Tesla used stock tires and no burnout, and it was probably traction limited. It would be interesting to see P100DL with better tires and burnout make a record run, maybe even using different size wheels.

It is very hard to do CONTROLLED burnouts consistently with AWD cars. Some tracks don’t allow it.

Also, street tires don’t see any benefit from burnouts, because the rubber compound is designed to perform the best at normal temps. If by “better tires” you mean drag tires all the way around, then a burnout wouldn’t really be needed anyways.

I was wondering about burnouts with AWD Tesla. In theory, they could have software to have burnout mode in 2 wheels at a time. Not sure if they do (or will have).


Count my mind as blown.

I’ve never thought about that. Yes, it should be very easy programming to burn each set of tires individually, and even lock the opposing brakes to make it easy.

That would seriously screw with the minds of the crowd and other ICE car drivers at the track too!!

‘Effin brilliant! I love it!

Wow, you went even further with 1 wheel at a time burnout. Then they could do “dot matrix” writing mode where they spell out “Tesla” as the car is doing burnouts using auto pilot. That will really wow the crowd.

Isn’t this technically Chevy powered?

Why the love for Tesla but not Chevy?

It would be LG Chem and Tesla powered. We usually don’t give credit to Panasonic for the Tesla P100D’s 10.8 sec 1/4 mile.

Maybe the battery guys deserve some of that credit though.

When the battery is a big part of the reason why it can go that fast you should 😉

There is a reason why these types of cars all use parallel Volt packs.

I mean really how hard is it to just put a big ass electric motor in it and go fast?

There are higher C rate cells used in some serious dragsters, like the Zombie 222,


but they are not cheap. The Volt LGs, being from a PHEV are pretty high C rate cells. Also, being from wrecks they are dirt cheap.

Yea, the Volt battery pack in a junkyard doesn’t have much value, because Volt owners just aren’t having to replace any batteries that may be out of warranty.

The Volt batteries are doing so well that there really is no replacement market. All the better for home conversion fans and race car builders.

A while back I was playing with the idea of using a wrecked Volt battery, and putting it into an old air cooled Porsche. Then I found out that those old Porsche’s have skyrocketed in price since the last time I looked. Crazy.

A purpose built High C rate battery pack would be best suited to hit sub 10sec.

I can’t imagine the engineering and mechanical skills required to build something like that. My last two oil changes that I performed myself on my motorcycle and my car turned into slapstick-like performances that would have an audience in stitches …

It sounds like it is time to “tub” the rear end so it can fit the right size tires back there.

I want to put a second Volt pack in my Volt and add a motor for the rear wheel.

I might have to remove the back seats though.