For EV conversions, the Tesla-swap is becoming the new LS-swap. Because it’s relatively easy to find Tesla electric powertrains, mostly from crashed cars, it’s the most common powertrain for doing an EV swap. Typically, though, when enthusiasts swap out internal combustion for electric motors, it’s a comprehensive swap, leaving none of the previous running gear behind. Not so with this Audi S5 Coupe, though.
This owner wanted to swap the Tesla Model S P85 powertrain into the Audi S5 but also wanted to keep Quattro because, ya know, who doesn’t? That’s quite tricky, though, because that’s traditionally not how EV powertrains work. Typically, the electric motor is built into a single drive unit, which features the single-speed gearbox and all of the necessary components in the one unit. That that drives two axles to the wheels.
However, in this build, they cut the Tesla drive unit in half, essentially exposing the electric motor. They then created their own gear reduction, gutted the existing DSG gearbox into just a hollow shell and connected the motor through the hollow gearbox to the center Torsen differential. Effectively, they just replaced the S5’s engine and transmission with an electric powertrain from a Tesla and hooked it up to Quattro.
That means that it still has the same grip and traction as a typical Quattro all-wheel drive system but with instantaneous power and torque.
Being that it uses a model S P85 powertrain, it makes a maximum of 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, which is more than the standard S5 made. Making it even faster is the instant response of the electric motor. Though, it wouldn’t surprise us if it were even heavier and more unbalanced than the standard car, as its chassis wasn’t designed for batteries or an electric motor. Still, it’s probably significantly faster than the outgoing car.
This is a seriously impressive build, especially when you look at the intricate cooling system and interior electronics they developed for this car. Would I personally want an electric powertrain over the brilliant 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 of the first-gen S5? Not a chance. But, technically speaking, this is a fascinating build and one that’s worth checking out.