Close

Initial Powertrain Concept

A project log for Electrified MJ

A Tesla-Powered Jeep Commanche EV Conversion Project

Robert MendezRobert Mendez 09/24/2020 at 01:350 Comments

To start of this project, I'm wanting to (in some way) use a Tesla drive unit similar to the one below...

Tesla-Model-S-2012-2018-OEM-RWD-Large-Drive-Unit-Motor-Part-1025276-00-Q

The reasoning for using the Tesla drive unit is that it is the best motor/inverter value you can get for an EV build. When you compare this to buying a new third party motor/inverter, you'll realize that you can get a whole Tesla drive unit (which has the motor/inverter in a neat self contained package) for the price of just an electric motor (at least at the time of writing).

At first glance, the main challenge when trying to use this on the Commanche is how to adapt it to get power to the wheels. The model S (which this particular unit is pulled from) has independent rear suspension (shown below) whereas the Commache has a solid rear axle with leaf spring.

Tesla Model 3 teardown gives incredible look at the electric powertrain -  Electrek

There are two options to go with in this conversion:

1.) Convert the Jeep Commanche to have rear independent suspension

2.) Remove the motor and inverter from the tesla gear box and adapt the actual motor directly to the transfer case of the Commanche (therefore keeping the initial drivetrain components and suspension)

Both options have their unique sets of challenges. Going with the first option will make this Commanche conversion strictly 2wd. Going with the second option allows being able to utilize 4wd, but will require disassembly of the Tesla Drive unit.

This project will be my first experience ever with the Tesla drive unit, and I mainly want to get hands on with the unit and get it rolling initially before I start diving into more advanced modifications of the drive unit. Not only this, but based on previous experiences, trying to control the tight tolerances involved with rotating machinery to keep the system reliable is something that is usually not achievable to basic tools.

For this reason, I have decided that I'm willing to sacrifice the 4wd for this build, and instead focus on the challenge of converting the Jeep Comanche to a independent rear suspension and use the already quality engineered drive unit that Tesla developed without any mechanical modifications. 

This will allow me to just focusing the most engineering time to adapting the drive unit to the commanche (which I think is more feasible to do initially).

Let me know your thoughts on this (if you have any). As far as I know, I have yet to see a build that doesn't just use the drive unit and original subframe in their builds.

Discussions