I like my Tesla Model S, but there are still a few things that I would change, like seats with more comfortable side support and the capacity to stop bullets from high-powered rifles and handguns.
But in all seriousness, some people actually do require vehicles with that level of protection, which is why there are aftermarket armoring companies. One of them claims to have built the first bulletproof Tesla Model S P100D – an all-electric armored vehicle.
International Armoring Corporation (IAC) added a full lightweight synthetic fiber laminate armor, called Armormax, and ballistic glass to a Model S P100D in order to create a fully bulletproof car for a client.
IAC CEO Mark Burton told Electrek that they had three main goals with this project:
- to armor the entire passenger compartment to the perceived threat (High powered rifle)
- to retain the original appearance
- to retain the original performance
$72,500 and 650 labor hours later, Burton says that they achieved all those goals. He claims that their proprietary armoring materials enabled them to complete the project by adding only 550 lbs to the vehicle.
As for the appearance, it’s certainly hard to tell that it was modified unless you take a close look at the windows:
As for performance and functionality, Burton claims that performance is not affected and the only lost function is the fact that windows don’t open anymore, but that’s because they are now 2″ thick.
That’s actually quite an accomplishment considering all the wiring harnesses and sensors in the Model S and the fact that they had to remove all the panels of the roof, floor, doors, windows and pillar posts.
He shared a few images of them installing the Armormax in the Model S:
Other features include a new floor protected against fragmentation caused from explosives (i.e. hand-granades), though the battery pack is probably already useful for that, and custom run-flat rollers have been placed in each wheel.
Apparently, Tesla vehicles are becoming popular as armored cars since Burton says that they now have 5 more Tesla vehicles in their backlog.
The biggest issue with armor on vehicles, aside from the cost, is the weight. It’s generally fairly heavy and it affects efficiency and range significantly.
That’s regardless of the type of powertrain, but since people already have concerns about range when it comes to EVs, it can become a bigger issue with adding armor to a Model S. It’s where the fact that IAC managed to add only 550 lbs to the Model S’ total weight comes into play.
They claim that it doesn’t affect efficiency, but they didn’t perform a range test and it has to make it a little worse since the vehicle is just over 10% heavier.