Self-proclaimed car guru Rich Benoit has learned that even Teslas that are left damaged and abandoned in salvage yards could still be valuable. From flooded battery packs to junk electric motors, Rich has breathed new life into what, otherwise, insurance companies deemed as salvaged, and, arguably, is bringing the sexy back into backyard DIY projects. Today, Rich candidly refers to himself as the Dr. Frankenstein of Teslas — a moniker he wears with pride.
In his popular YouTube channel, Rich Rebuilds, Rich has chronicled several Tesla projects involving the repair and restoration of a Model S using salvaged parts from auctioned vehicles that were given the ax by insurance agents. The Tesla Model S that he currently drives, for one, was recovered from a flood. Through long hours of working on the car, Rich was able to get the vehicle fully restored by using parts he scavenged from another Tesla wreck.
That is not to say that things have been easy for the Tesla DIY guru. Tesla does not work like a conventional carmaker, and like neighboring tech giant Apple, the Silicon Valley-based company prefers to have full control over how its vehicles are serviced and repaired. Couple that with Tesla’s decision to use aluminum panels for its vehicles’ bodywork, among other things, and repairing the company’s electric cars becomes a very tedious and risky affair. For the DIY enthusiast, things don’t have to be this way.
Rich’s projects usually involve a ton of work and elaborate restoration. He is currently attempting to restore a Model S that had been submerged for ten days in floodwaters due to Hurricane Harvey last year. This project, which is proving to be quite a challenge due to the water damage the vehicle incurred, is only partly done. In a recent upload, however, Rich showed off a DIY project that is simpler compared to his usual builds, but just as cool. Taking a break from his flooded Model S restoration project, Rich showcased a DIY trailer made from a junk battery pack.
Considering that the battery pack was a spare he no longer needed, Rich attempted to find someone who was in need of the part. Despite asking fellow DIY enthusiast Lee at Advanced Technologies to help look for someone who would like to acquire the pack, Rich didn’t have much luck. It was then that one commenter in social media suggested that the battery pack be converted into a trailer.
That was enough to get Rich and his fellow DIY-er into action. Rich noted that the junk battery pack is actually structurally sound to serve as a trailer, considering that it was rated to hold the electric cars’ heavy battery modules. Thus, with some good-old DIY magic and a good dose of creativity and resourcefulness, the Tesla Battery Trailer was born. As an added flair, Rich also opted to fit the trailer with 21″ Turbine wheels from a Model S, giving the project a distinct Tesla theme.
The project is yet to be completed, but even at its current state, it’s hard to deny that the Tesla Battery Trailer is already pretty darn cool. Rich further note that they are now looking into adding features to the trailer, such as LED lights, a battery module, and an inverter to provide 120 volts of power.