Home » Blast Across The Desert In This Awesome Tesla-Powered Electric Class 10 Buggy

Blast Across The Desert In This Awesome Tesla-Powered Electric Class 10 Buggy

Zelectric Buggy Topshot

Maybe you want to go green off-road, or pretend that you’re in an ’80s action movie, or just want a unique toy for messing about. If any of those applies to you, check out this wild one-off Tesla-powered buggy from the EV conversion specialists at California-based Zelectric Motors.

First off, watch this video to see this EV baja beast in action:

Power comes from a full Tesla Model S P85 drivetrain, with an 85 kWh battery pack and a 535-horsepower motor. Given how the typical Class 10 buggy doesn’t weight a whole lot, this thing offers hilarious acceleration despite the added weight of a battery pack. Plus, that big battery pack is said to give this prerunner an off-road range of 200 miles despite having the aerodynamic sophistication of a shed.

Buggy Quarter Panel

Fox 3.5-inch quad-bypass rear dampers should soak up whoops and jumps like a ShamWow, while spherical joints locate the rear trailing arms and allow a free range of motion. The battery pack’s tucked nice and high in the frame to shield it from impacts, and there’s power steering to make low-speed maneuvers easier. The buggy even includes all its CAD files so you can fabricate replacement suspension arms and repair the chassis should you bin it.

electric buggy dashboard

The good stuff continues on the inside, where you’ll find a clear, legible LCD instrument cluster and a bevy of physical toggle switches, along with key safety equipment like a battery cut-off switch. There’s even a radio on board because things get loud in the desert. You get the sense that Zelectric Motors’ lead tech really thought about this project and did a proper job completing it.

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So why buy an electric buggy over a gasoline-powered one? Well, there’s one big perk – it’s really easy to drive like an absolute jerk when nobody can hear you. A quiet sand rail could slide right under the noses of the general public, opening up a raft of testing opportunities. You could rip around an empty industrial estate you rent a unit in, get out in the desert before everyone at camp is awake, and really test out those Fox dampers without drawing any unwanted attention.

electric buggy profile

At $99,000 or best offer, the Moon Buggy isn’t cheap, but it seems like a bargain compared to a GMC Hummer EV, a similarly impractical off-road focused EV. For starters, it’s generally better to drive a tool than look like one, and the electric buggy is just cooler and more honed-in on the off-road experience than the Hummer is. In addition, you can easily pick up a tow rig, a trailer, and a used EV daily for the delta between the buggy and current Hummer resale values. That’s three awesome vehicles and a trailer for the price of one.

electric buggy front

So, forget the latest and greatest in electric off-road luxury. Be a hero with this fabulous buggy, blasting through the sand. According to David Benardo of Zelectric Motors, the team “just need it out of our shop,” so it wouldn’t hurt to pitch a reasonable offer. If you do happen to have $99,000 burning a hole in your pocket, hop this link for more photos of the buggy and to get in touch with the seller.

(Photo credits: Zelectric Motors)

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11 Responses

  1. This is fantastic. That being said there is no way it gets a 200 mile range anywhere but in a vacuum.

    33ish kwh/gallon is like having 2.5 gallons of energy on board, multiply that by 3 for the efficiency advantage annnnndddddd it’s actually like having about 8 (being generous). So basically if this was gas they’d need to do 25mpg do hit that claim. Which is just insane. This is a terrible use case for electric.

    Between that blatant lie and the craftsmanship in the video (seriously, compare it to something like this https://www.jimcoracing.com/pages/class-11 ) I wouldn’t have much faith in these guys. Maybe their VW/Porsche conversions are more legit.

    Also FYI I think the reason they call it a class 10/1 is because a class 10 is a 4cyl and a class 1 is SPICY

  2. While I’m all for electric dune buggies it should be air cooled, not liquid cooled. Not a lot of liquids in the desert in case you bust a coolant line.

  3. I’d have done the body differently. To get an idea of what I would go for, see the link to the modified Ford Model T below:

    https://www.metrompg.com/posts/model-t-stevinson.htm

    Except I’d have made a narrow, tandem two-seater with low frontal area. The drag this Moonbuggy for sale has, could have been cut by about 2/3 by doing this, without sacrificing any of its offroad capability. Sculpted correctly, the body would be so slippery that the outboard wheels would account for the vast majority of the vehicle’s drag.

    And there’s also the potential to sacrifice range by going to a much smaller/lighter battery pack, using a different type of cell with better power density. Imagine what this buggy would behave like if it had the same amount of power, but weighed well under 2,000 lbs!

    Of course, if range is an issue, converting it into a series hybrid with a tiny gasoline or diesel engine wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    1. As far as I can tell ‘Class 10’ buggies have a pretty standardised design. I’m not sure if this was a conversion of an existing ICE vehicle, or they just decided to use an existing, proven, design. Either way, it looks almost identical to ICE powered Class 10 machines.

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