Truckla electric ute unveiled
A YouTuber with an angle grinder and a workshop has shown how easy it is to create a ute from a Tesla Model 3 - beating the Californian electric car maker in producing a long promised pick-up truck.
Inventor and TV host Simone Giertz has posted a 31-minute video of her spraying sparks and removing parts as she cuts the tail off the luxury electric hatchback to transform it into something that looks ready for an African adventure.
Nicknamed the Truckla, the end result uses much of the Tesla body with a small ute tray flanked by an extended roof rack kitted out with a trio of safari lights. It also has hints of the legendary Subaru Brumby, a tiny ute still loved by Australian farmers.
The ambitious Truckla project involved at least 15 helpers, including fellow YouTuber Richard Benoit (from Rich Rebuilds), known for tinkering with Teslas.
It started with a brand new Model 3, which arrives in Australia in August priced from $66,000, plus on-road costs. While Giertz and her team of experts considered the larger Model S and Model X, the 3 won out because it uses a steel chassis instead of aluminium, making it easier to fabricate.
Giertz chose the base Standard Range car, which drives the rear wheels and won't initially be offered here.
Despite the apparently random cutting and welding, plenty of thought and effort went into the Truckla.
It started with various design sketches and meetings as well as detailed measurements and even weighing the standard Model 3 to establish how much weight was over the front and rear wheels.
While the basics of the Model 3 remain - including its electric motor and batteries lining the floor - there are also unexpected additions, including the bed of an old Ford F150 and the rear window from a GMC Canyon.
There were hiccups along the way, including twisting of the body as cuts were made through the roof beams.
While the roll bars and roof rack help create the tough truck aesthetic, they were also required for structural strength to stop it crumpling or bending.
The project has been in the planning for a year and involved "crazy amounts of work", but the result is something Giertz is clearly proud of.
"I love Truckla so much, she's my absolute dream car."
So much so that it required something very ute like as a celebration - burnouts and dusty doughnuts in a paddock as part of a mock TV commercial.
But Giertz has more plans for the Truckla, including a new paint job and a lift kit to raise the suspension.
No doubt for a future YouTube episode …
In the meantime, Giertz is selling T-shirts with a design sketch of the Truckla.