By on December 7, 2010

With electric cars becoming the new big thing among car lovers with more money than sense, it’s clear that the world’s many tuning houses will try to get in on the action sooner or later… but how? Brabus has offered tuning packages for the Tesla Roadster since shortly after the EV sportscar launched, but the treatment has always been basically skin-deep: wheels, spoilers, lighting, and best of all,

several simulated engine sounds including that of a typical V8 combustion engine, a racecar engine and two futuristic soundscapes named ‘Beam’ and ‘Warp.’

Which is all well and good, but it highlights a real problem: tuners simply can’t improve the performance of EVs without replacing the batteries or reprograming the entire car. For a company like Brabus that’s used to turning crazy-fast Benzes into super-crazy-fast ‘bahn burners, this has to be a frustrating state of affairs. So what’s a tuner to do? Instead of dialing up the power, the future of EV tuning may just be in making these already-green cars even greener.

In pursuit of this new marketing strategy, Brabus has partnered with the German utility company RWE for its TESLA Roadster Sport BRABUS Green Package, an upgrade that’s available only in the German market. We’ll let the presser explain:

The exclusive BRABUS customization program for the first electric production sports car includes the RWE-BRABUS high-tech quick charging station for the customer’s garage and environmentally friendly RWE Eco Electricity for 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles). Also included is a one-year RWE car electricity pass for free use of all public RWE charging stations… The purchase price includes the professional installation of the stylish high-tech charger in the customer’s garage. The quick charger is three times faster than charging the two-seater at a normal household power outlet and environmentally friendly RWE Eco Electricity for the first 30,000 kilometer (18,641 miles) is free. In less than six hours the open-top eco sports car is fully charged for an operating range of some 350 km (220 miles). Eco-friendly power is available away from home as well. The Green Package also includes a one-year pass for free use of all public RWE charging stations.

The only problem with this strategy is that it can only be locally implemented. Still, as EVs grow in popularity, one can imagine more tuning houses partnering with local utilities to offer renewable-based home charging as well as local public charging station access to go with aftermarket wheels, spoilers and yes, simulated engine noises. Welcome to the brave new world of EV “tuning.”

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11 Comments on “Brabus Breaks New Ground In EV “Tuning”...”

  • avatar

    They said the same thing about being able to tune electronic fuel injection systems, and look how that tuning industry turned out.

  • avatar

    Welcome to the brave new world of EV “tuning.”

    People said the same thing about electronic fuel injection and electronic throttles.  As enthusiasts go, gearheads are incredibly retrograde.

    I’d give it a year or two before people are replacing motors, flashing ROMs and, yes, replacing batteries in the quest for better performance. This is just low-hanging fruit.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I realize EVs might not have quite the room for tuning that ICEs do, due to the simplicity of the drivetrain, but I can think of a few things offhand with the Roadster:
    • Better cooling for the motor
    • A taller gear ratio, which would probably increase the 0-60 time but also make it faster around the track, since right now it loses max torque around 70.
    • Tighter suspension, to help sling around that massive 1000 lb battery.
    • Ultra-sticky high-performance tires, to replace the low-rolling resistance tires they have now
    Of course, with some of these mods comes tradeoffs, such as range, but still…it would help with performance.

    • 0 avatar

      You get those same tradeoffs with an ICE.  Want more power?  You get worse emissions and lower fuel economy.  Sometimes you get truly awful lumpiness if you tune aggressively enough.
      With an EV, all you need to do is get a bigger motor and supply it with more power, which is comparatively easy.  No rough idle, no emissions testing issues, no carbon buildup, no mucking with fuel mixtures, cam profiles, forced induction, etc,  etc.  It’s actually easier as all you sacrifice is range.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Ah, those magic words… “All you have to do is…”

  • avatar

    Custom wound motors. High current/low internal impedance battery packs. (ala electric RC racers) Reprogrammed regen. Exotic power wiring (ala high end audio).
    There is plenty that a tuner can do to an electric or hybrid. Most of it legitimate, some of it snake oil (much like the current tuner market).

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Which is all well and good, but it highlights a real problem: tuners simply can’t improve the performance of EVs without replacing the batteries or reprograming the entire car.
    Tuners can’t improve the performance of a gas powered car either without replacing engine components or reprogramming ECUs.
    Doesn’t seem to stop them.

  • avatar

    EV Tuning?  Obviously the right answer is replacing all the wiring with Monster(TM) Cable.

  • avatar

    I’m still wondering how the X-by-Wire systems will react to all this tuning/hacking … imagine what fun could happen if these are destabilized … unintended acceleration, steering, braking and radio station selection!

  • avatar

    Don’t forget, Brabus may have started by ‘tuning all things Mercedes’, but they really made their name by doing the tuning packages on Smart cars!

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