tesla model 3 long range project before start

Project Tesla – ICE Geeks Playing with an EV

Ace Performance is an automotive performance shop owned by one of my best friends. I have written about Ace Performance here many times. They build and maintain race cars, spend an incredible amount of time at the track, and they are a retailer of Ariel and Ginetta cars. They also spend a good amount of time fixing my projects. And now they added a Tesla Model 3 to their inventory of interesting cars. But why?

Why a Tesla?

One thing that Baer Connard, the owner of Ace Performance, noticed is that many customers have started bringing their Teslas to his shop. Most of them are looking for mild bolt-on upgrades but there was this one guy, a famous YouTuber who goes by Rich Rebuilds, whose Tesla needed some dyno-tuning as its small block V8 engine wasn’t running quite right. 

With the increasing popularity of Teslas and a new wave of customers looking to personalize them, Baer felt as though the market for Tesla upgrades was underserved, especially in the Northeast. Like many gen-X car enthusiasts, Baer’s focus in life has always been on conventional performance cars. He concluded that the best way to learn about the new technology is to just jump into it. With the recent market incentives that Tesla and the government have offered, Baer leased a dual-motor long-range Tesla Model 3. Seeing my enthusiasm and results with the Prado, he then called me. 

I promptly laughed at him and called him names. 

Now what?

tesla model 3 long range project before start

Well, we developed a plan. The world is full of weird and interesting Tesla builds, and frankly, many of them cannot be matched or surpassed. There are slammed Teslas and raised Teslas. There are ones that emphasize performance and others that focus on efficiency. There are probably stanced Teslas and air-bagged Teslas. Whatever kind of flavor strikes your fancy, there are Tesla modifications for it. 

Given the leased nature of Baer’s Tesla, we decided that all our modifications must be easily reversible. The Tesla was going to be Baer’s daily-ish driver, so whatever we do, we can’t impact (or not impact much) comfort, reliability, or range. Since we live in New England, and we both ski, we decided that the Tesla should focus on being able to overcome the crappy local roads and ever-changing mountain weather. 

But before modifying anything…

tesla model 3 ceramic coating tint

Before we started bolting things up to this new vehicle, we performed some basic things. First, the car was Ceramic Pro coated at Q Car Care in Burlington, MA. Ceramic coating is a great idea for any new car as it will help protect the paint from everyday damage such as rock chips and other scratches. It is also a very good thing to do before the harsh winter season.

Q Car Care then tinted the car. Ceramic 35% tint was used all around. It will help keep the car cooler in the summer and, let’s be honest, most cars look better tinted. The added benefit is that fewer people will be able to see us driving this cylinder-less wonder.

And it starts, the first mod…

The single best improvement to any car is a set of tires that properly correspond to where and how the car will be driven. Given the potholed highways, dirt roads, and snow this Tesla will encounter, we went with an all-terrain tire that was also rated for snow duty. We planned to go with a taller tire and a lift. But there’s a problem. 

The suspension design of the Tesla 3 is such that the control arm comes up and over the top of the tire. This, in turn, limits the physical size of the tire height. There is no real way to overcome this. In theory, with some crazy off-set wheels and/or wheel spacers, it would be possible to push the tire out from under that control arm. This would, however, end up with the tires sticking out way outside of the fenders. The way to overcome this would be with fender flares or modified fenders, but neither of those options went along with our reversible mod requirement. 

The tire we chose is the Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail. We decided on a 235/50-18 size, which resulted in an overall tire height of 27.3”, an increase of an inch from the stock size. The Falken Wildpeak is the only all-terrain tire in that size. It also has the benefit of being Severe Snow Service Rated. While it’s not a proper winter tire, from my experience with similar tires, it comes damn close. We’ll report on our experiences with this tire in the future; its loudness, winter traction, and effect on range. Ordering them from Tirerack was quick and painless.


We have some cool ideas of what else we will do to this Model 3. We also have some very cool ideas of what we can do with this Tesla. While it is a daily driver, it will see some fun action outside of I-93 traffic. We will show what can be easily done with the Tesla to make it more fun, more functional, and can be easily reversed.

Stay tuned.

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One response to “Project Tesla – ICE Geeks Playing with an EV”

  1. Duke Woolworth Avatar
    Duke Woolworth

    You wasted money/time on cosmetics that could have been spent on the intended/announced subject. Start over, and keep it legal.