Video Update: DIY Stretchla Project – Tesla Model S to Underpin Stretched Volkswagen Vanagon Body – Battery Evaluation and Removal


Remember when we first reported on Stretchla, the ambitious DIY project that involves stripping a salvaged Tesla Model S down to its chassis and drivetrain and then slipping that under a stretched Volkswagen Vanagon?

Well, if you missed our initial post on the subject, then we suggest you click here to get caught up.

Strechla is spearheaded by a man named of Otmar.

Since we first presented the story, there have been a few updates.

First, the Tesla Model S arrived:

The next step in the process was ensuring that the Model S performed as intended.  This step proved to be a time consuming one since much was unknown as to what occured after the donor Model S was wrecked.

As Otmar explains:

“Before I start dismantling the Tesla and transferring parts to the Stretched Vanagon, I want to insure that all the Model S systems are working correctly. The condition of the battery, being the most expensive component in the car, has been of great concern to me. I wasn’t expecting much difficulty in getting it to wake up, charge and drive but things are often not as I expect. The Tesla is very new, and so far there is precious little public diagnostic information. The simple fact that a pyrotechnic disconnect on the 12V battery controls power to the contactors for the main traction pack was unknown to me, though in retrospect it makes perfect sense. I do appreciate the fact that doing things the hard way often entails more learning, and I’m certainly learning many obscure details about the Model S! It’s a good thing I enjoy learning about this sort of thing.”

This latest update on the Stretchla project is detailed entirely in the video posted below.  Ever wonder what’s involved in removing the Model S battery pack?  Otmar has the answer, but you’ll have to check out the video to find out:

Cafe Electric Strecthla Blog

Categories: Tesla, Videos, Volkswagen

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

21 Comments on "Video Update: DIY Stretchla Project – Tesla Model S to Underpin Stretched Volkswagen Vanagon Body – Battery Evaluation and Removal"

newest oldest most voted

This is retarded. He’s building up a frankenstein vehicle which will be barely road safe. IF he has those kinds of skills, why not just repair the salvage Tesla and enjoy it?

I think it’s great. Why do you think it will not be road safe? He has used the stretched VW for years w/an ICE. Now he’s converting it to electric. If you like camping in VW’s and you like EV’s, why NOT combine them?

(did u even watch the videos?)

Ok. Just drive around in a boring ICE motorhome, while Otmar enjoys fully electric camping.


Because the Tesla was totalled and it was going to cost more to repair the crashed Tesla than to just buy a new Tesla.

Otmar is recycling a vehicle’s components that had no future otherwise. Also, Otmar knows a lot about this sort of technology and likes a challenge.

And you call yourself a prophet.

Wrong movie. Did you mean Godzilla?

I think the most interesting part to me will be if it will work with the Superchargers (and how the vehicle performs LOL).

You should sell the Tesla shell to someone who would put an ICE in it, just for entertainment.

Get Bob Lutz on the phone! He has experience in this area… 😉

I’m wondering w/the room in the frunk, could a gas engine be put at both ends? So 2 small gas engines. Has a car ever had 2 gas engines before?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Production? I doubt it.

Show car?

Interesting.. and Millen has done some hybrid stuff too.

From wiki:
“It is not expected to be a production vehicle due to the complexity and cost of the drivetrain, however many patents were secured in the Hurricane’s development.”

From how stuff works:

Two HEMIs in a Jeep
For many automotive enthusiasts, the HEMI engine represents the pinnacle of American muscle. So what could be better than putting a HEMI in a Jeep?
How about putting two HEMIs in a Jeep? The Jeep Hurricane features a 5.7-liter HEMI engine in the front, generating 335 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. In the rear of the Hurricane is another 5.7-liter HEMI, generating the same amount of horsepower and torque. That’s a total of 670 horsepower and 740 lb-ft of torque.

Double ended like a streetcar! No need to make 3-point turn arounds.


Well now we can’t say Tesla can’t build a van or a small RV. I’m surprised auto makers don’t try to take up some of the ideas people come up with building custom cars. Such as this guy is getting a model S platform to fit into a large van or small RV it’s like free research for the car company in my opinion.

Great project !! I had a water cooled Vanagon for a few years. Probably the most costly vehicle to keep on the road of any I have ever owned. I literally could not take it to the garage for less than $1000 ( and up ). The electric drive train will be a huge improvement over the VW’s ICE and all that plumbing.

Well said,
definitely improve the VW reliability and extremely lower running costs !

Virtually all the early water cooled Vanagons were a disaster in terms of the reliability of the stock motor. The Wasserboxer, a four cylinder horizontally opposed pushrod overhead-valve (OHV) petrol engine became known as the 40,000 mile motor in some circles. Apparently this was an issue that was solved after a few years, by changing to phosphate free coolant, resulting in the seals in question lasting up to 140,000 miles (see ) . The other water cooled motor was available in 1982 and was a 1.6L 52hp diesel that was seriously short on power and had long term reliability problems of it’s own, probably as a result of the strain of hauling around the heft of the Vanagon. As a result, searching Google for “Vanagon engine swap” brings up 19,000+ results including an amazing array of web sites, articles and videos. I bought a used example of the diesel variant (known as the Transporter outside of North America) that became the most frustrating vehicle I have owned until I swapped out the diesel for a 100 hp 1.8L fuel injected motor out of a US spec Jetta GLi. Even the 105 lb.ft of torque felt so much better than… Read more »

Anybody know what this pyrotechnic switch is? and what is SRS?

OK I found it. It disconnects the HV battery in case of an accident:
“A system for decoupling a HV source from an electric vehicle’s electrical system is provided that includes (i) at least one electrical contactor, where the HV source is electrically connected to the vehicle’s electrical system when the electrical contactor is in a closed state and not electrically connected to the vehicle’s electrical system when the electrical contactor is in an open state; (ii) a supplemental restraint system (SRS) that monitors collision data from a plurality of impact sensors and outputs an activation signal in response to monitored collision data; and (iii) a pyrotechnic switch, where the pyrotechnic switch has a pre-activated first state that provides a conductive path that allows the HV source to be electrically connected to the vehicle’s electrical system and an activated second state that severs the conductive path and prevents the HV source from being electrically connected to the vehicle’s electrical system.”

Since engineers love acronyms, especially Three Letter Acronyms (TLA), they also call this switch a PSS. For those of you who like to have an image, it looks like this:

Can you post a picture of the pyrotechnic switch? Or send me a picture? This may be what is holding up my project.