We’ve not seen enough Tesla Model S mods. But that’s about to change. Determined to make the smallest Tesla car ever, Austin Blake of YouTube channel austiwawa took a child’s Tesla Model S Radio Flyer and fitted it with a go-kart engine to make what he calls the “Teskart”:
After taking the mini Model S for a test spin and discovering he isn’t quite the same size he was when he was a kid, Austin goes ALL IN on the Model S toy car mod.
Rather than using a traditional gasoline go-kart engine, Austin wants to stick to Tesla’s original intentions and plans to install an electric motor. But first, he has chop up the go-kart to fit the Model S body.
He cuts apart the chassis to make it shorter then reconnects the front and back sections using two couplings made from 1.5-inch tubing. With the base of the Teskart in place, Austin removes the useless wiring and plastic inside the mini Model S to fit the go-kart chassis. He widens the floor to provide a bit more driving room and cuts even more from the body.
With the car body cleared out, Austin has room for the electric motor which he locates in the front of the Teskart. This proves more of a problem with the engine eliminating nearly any room for his regular sized human legs.
After some prototyping and a stint in Fusion 360, he came up with a motor mount that would keep the engine suspended while leaving just enough room for his toesie-woesies. Austin then makes a few modifications to the go-kart base, swapping the original 1-inch axel for a 1.4-inch axel and connecting it to a new #40 sprocket and chain. He also switches out the mechanical brake with a hydraulic version.
By far, the most notable changes to the go-kart frame has to be the added supports that support the Teskart body. He adds a new rear bumper, tacks on extra side supports, and makes enough space to mount the steering wheel controller. Finally, he welds the seat onto the chassis at the rear and middle of the kart.
With the chassis done, Austin works on incorporating the Teskart’s battery supply. Taking inspiration from a real Tesla, he decides to use sixteen 18650 Lithium-Ion batteries. This creates a power output of 224 cells – about 2.7% of a real Tesla Model S car’s cells.
He works on making the battery packs with a separate team, making sure each pack is wired properly to produce the amount of power it needs.
Austin also adds some foam insulators onto each battery pack before wrapping them in a good layer of heat shrink. For added measure and to make sure all the battery packs are secured, he places them in an enclosure made from HDPE (high-density polyethylene).
The only things left, is to paint the frame, reassemble the parts, and hope to heck the motor works. Thankfully, all the time spent making battery packs has paid off, and the Teskart hums to life.
You may be wondering where the controller is on this thing and, truth is, Austin had to make some major adjustments to get everything to fit. Since he barely fits in the Teskart, he adds a thumb throttle to the steering wheel and a connector and quick-disconnect for the steering wheel itself. This allows him to get inside the kart then attach the steering wheel.
With it complete, it’s time to see if the Teskart works.
Boom. A mini Model S that is actually a go-kart. The only difference? This puppy runs entirely on batteries. While the Tesla Model S Radio Flyer wasn’t meant to hold a full-grown adult, imagine this in the hands of a smaller driver. More than anything, this is an interesting look at minifying electric vehicle options and a great project if you want to explore building your own power bank. Here’s the project from start to finish:
For more of Austin’s DIY projects, be sure to check his YouTube channel, austiwawa.