Engineer who built Cordless Tesla teases what's coming up next

Matt Mikka explains his plans for version two of the Cordless Tesla.
Ameya Paleja
The modified Tesla with a single cylinder generator
The modified Tesla with a single cylinder generator

Warped Perception/ YouTube 

  • The modified Tesla Model S completed a 1,800-mile journey without connecting to a charger.
  • The modification of the car for this feat took over a year.
  • YouTuber surely loves his jet engines.

In October 2022, YouTuber Matt Mikka, known better for his channel Warped Perception, released a video of a Tesla Model S modified with a single-cylinder gasoline-powered generator that could charge the electric vehicle on the go. The mod freed the Tesla from the need to stop for charging at dedicated EV charging points, and Mikka made a trip of 1,600 miles without having to connect his Tesla to a charger. Although he did need to stop to gas up the generator, completely eliminating any of the environmental and cost-saving benefits of owning an electric car.

And, since the car consumed more energy than the generator could produce while driving, Mikka also had to stop for several hours a day to let the Tesla charge – taking much longer than it would have to charge the car at a charging station.

Interesting Engineering (IE) has previously covered Mikka's other Tesla videos, where he showcases three jet engines fitted onto the EV to serve as thrusters during acceleration and as well as one where he demonstrates how a Tesla being towed can actually charge its battery en route.

This time around, though, IE got in touch with the man himself and asked him what goes into the making of his videos and how long they typically take. Mikka told us why he modifies his Tesla even though he feels it is already the "perfect car," but with a BIG exception that he would want Elon Musk to address in the future.

Mikka would like to meet Musk at a future date, but for now, he is concentrating on making his videos which involve a lot of engineering to his car, which is very time-consuming. Mikka, however, loves sharing his videos with his 1.3 million followers on YouTube and promises to wow them with what is coming in the future.

Engineer who built Cordless Tesla teases what's coming up next
Matt Mikka with his modified Tesla

Interesting Engineering (IE): What inspired you to put a generator on a Tesla?

Matt Mikka (MM): Because I think it's a good idea, I can't go into detail on that right now.

The generator is quite noisy. Didn't people complain on the way?

Not one person complained, believe it or not.

Your modification increases anxiety while traveling. In hindsight, would you have preferred to put a bigger generator on the Tesla?

It actually did not increase my anxiety at all; it decreased my anxiety and increased my feeling of security driving in the middle of nowhere with that car because even though it wasn't enough power, if I ran out of battery at any point, I could just sit there and let the car charge itself back up and continue on my journey - the only thing I would lose is time.

A modification such as this looks very time-consuming. How long does it typically take?

It took me about a year and a half to build my entire system; the actual generator part was not the hardest part.

You have said on social media that you have been dragging your feet on releasing this video. Why is that?

I've been dragging my feet because I was doing a couple of other projects in parallel, but also because I wanted to finish version 2 of the Tesla before releasing a video on version 1.6.

Well, at this point, I'm in the developmental stage, I can't give many details on my goal or where I'm going to end up with this project, people are just going to have to watch the videos as I move along, and the next couple episodes it will start to make sense, once that happens I plan to pivot and do a complete 180 and take everyone down a different rabbit hole.

(Last month, the channel published a short video about a new turbo powerplant for the Tesla)

Isn't powering a Tesla with fossil fuel against everything the EV stands for? You have modified your Tesla before. Is it not an ideal car?

I think the Tesla is almost the perfect car with a few BIG exceptions – the main one being the amount of power that is stored on board is very minuscule; 100 KW is only equal to 3 gallons of gasoline worth of energy. I may try to meet with Elon at a later date because I believe that these problems can be overcome.

Do you ever think twice about warranties on the car?

No, I don't care about the warranty. I can tear apart and rebuild my entire Tesla component by component if I want to.

How has the journey of being a video blogger been so far?

I have been working solo for about two years now, and it's tough as hell. I don't consider myself somebody who tinkers with my car in a garage, I'm an engineer with a variety of skills, and I feel I can create just about anything (I consider myself extremely lucky); some of this stuff is very complex and dangerous, which is why I show things in the way I do.

As for sharing my stuff on YouTube, well, the only thing I regret is not making more videos and being more organic with my content. Sometimes, it is challenging to be yourself on camera when I am so focused on the project at hand. I love sharing my stuff on YouTube, and I really love inspiring others to tinker and learn some skills because, at this present time, it's easier to do than ever.

(Interview ends)

While we still wait for Mikka to unveil the next part of his plan for the Cordless Tesla, he did release a video about a remote-controlled car that attempted to jump over a football field of buses, powered by jet engines, of course.

This time around, Mikka trumped his own record by putting not three, not five, but seven jet engines behind the car for additional thrust. Interestingly, the video is an epic fail, and the car did not make the jump and crashed into one of the buses. But that's exactly what engineering is all about, a series of failures before you get everything just right.

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