Home / Social media / Cars / Chinese tuning house tests custom Overland Tesla in Xinjiang desert.


t’s not often that we come across quality Chinese-based content on YouTube, but when we do, we feel we need to share it. In this case the development and modifications in question are on a Tesla Model Y that the crew at Bitauto Garage have converted into an offroader to have fun with in places like the Taklimakan desert in the northwest Xinjiang Region of China to take advantage of the expansive rolling sand dunes found in a depression between two mountain ranges. The desert is a good 500 km away from where Bitauto Garage is based, but it seems Chinese YouTubers follow the same ethos as the western ones, a far drive to an epic destination can make for some epic, quality content.

The crew from Bitauto Garage chose a Tesla Model Y for the base of their fully electric overlander. There’s three models in this range, the Standard, Long Range and Performance, the first two share almost identical specs on the power and torque fronts, the range of the electric motors is what differentiates the two. While these aren’t geared for performance, they’re not bad at all in the spec stakes. The long range, which is obviously heavier thanks to a different battery array, is still capable of getting to 60 mph in just 4.8-seconds and it can push to the top speed of a healthy 135 mph (217 km/h). The Performance package sees the Tesla Model Y capable of getting to that 60 mph mark in as little as 3.5-seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). No matter which spec someone chooses for the base of an overlander project, the performance on offer is better than just about any normal ‘off the showroom floor” offroader.

In the quest to build a legitimate offroader from the Tesla Model Y base, the Bitauto Garage chaps did a fair bit of work with everything needing to be custom made because lift kits and upgrades of this kind don’t really exist until Mr Musk decides to create an offroad edition. The Tesla Model Y was lifted to give it a ride height capable of traversing some proper rocks and rough terrain. The in house-designed suspension bits used gave the Model Y a decent lift, high enough for the electric car to be able to wear a sizeable set of beadlocked 32-inch General tyres more suited to the planned terrain. To make it look better and to give the wheels more articulation, custom metal fender flares were added, the resulting look is great. If you’ve ever taken a look at how Tesla cars are produced, you’ll see that the body has a unibody design. This means the body, the majority of the chassis, and some safety features are all-in-one and so while the fitment of a proper in-car roll cage can be done, it’s a ridiculous amount of work. With this in mind Bitauto Garage fitted their Model Y Offroader with an external roll cage, basically an exoskeleton, to protect the car in the event of a rollover which is a very good possibility on any car that has “offroader’ in the title.

Of course when you fiddle with the parameters that a Tesla runs on, there will always be issues, but that gives the guys at Bitauto Garage something to work on, no one wants a project to work 100% on the first try, where’s the fun in that? Lifting the car high enough for those big tyres had changed the operating angle of the side shafts, and having a monstrous torque figure of over 600 Nm means that if you apply throttle at the right (wrong) time the CV joints and the side shafts have a habit of twisting off or shattering or both. Some custom billet parts are no doubt in the works now to try and sort that problem out.

Being a fully electric car, the Tesla Model Y in this custom offroader form has picked up a few operating issues. The electric system started making some trouble, likely because the onboard systems see some features and parts trying to work outside of their programmed operating parameters, and so in this Model Y offroader test, the traction control stopped working, the ABS failed and the power steering even decided it’s not playing along. This will no doubt take some clever coding to sort out, but if anyone is going to get it right, we reckon a Chinese tuning company is up there with the best of them.

Take a look at the YouTube video about the lifted and caged off road Tesla Model Y in China below: Can Tesla survive in the desert?! We built a real offroad Model Y | Bitauto Garage

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