Siraj Raval has tried just about every way there is to mine for cryptocurrencies from his 2018 Tesla Model 3. He’s run free bitcoin mining software on his Apple Mac mini M1 and powered the computer by plugging an inverter into the 12-volt power socket located in the center console of his car. He’s also hooked up interconnected graphics processing units or GPUs to the “frunk” of his Tesla, running these machines off the car’s internal battery.
Bitcoin miner Alejandro de la Torre said that ultimately, mining from a Tesla is just like connecting to any other power source.
“The main component is the price of the electricity. If it’s cheaper doing it through an electric vehicle, then so be it,” said de la Torre.
“I like electricity. I like zapping stuff, building stuff. You give me an electric motor, I give you a finished product,” Chris Allessi said.
Like Raval, Allessi has tried out multiple ways to transform his Tesla Model S into a crypto mining rig.
Allessi has also successfully used the vehicle’s internal firmware to mine for altcoins.
“It was no big deal,” he said of the process. “I could run the mining program within the browser,” Allessi explained.
Of all the techniques that Raval has tried, he said the most profitable as a result of hacking into Tesla’s internal computer, plus plugging GPUs directly into the car’s electric motor.
“It’s a computer with wheels…It’s so simple to hack into this computer car,” Raval said, who describes the process as essentially hijacking the car’s internal firmware to allow for extra power usage.
Tesla hacker and crypto-miner Thomas Sohmers argued this step isn’t necessary.
“The car is already built to deliver over 100 kilowatts, and anything connecting to the car is going to be a fraction of that. There’s no need to do what [Raval] says he’s doing. It doesn’t make technical sense,” said Sohmers.
“You have a power source, you have space, you have the ability to add cooling. There’s certainly enough power provided by the battery to fire up an ASIC and run it,” explained Whit Gibbs, CEO and founder of Compass, a bitcoin mining service provider.
Raval’s car gets 320 miles per charge, and it takes about $10 to $15 to charge it. If he drives it for a few hours daily, it needs a charge once every one-and-a-half week, putting his monthly bill from $30 to $60.
Raval estimates that he mines roughly 20 hours a day off his Tesla battery.
Raval stated that in 2021, he earned anywhere from around $400 to $800 a month.
Sohmers, who says he was the first to crack into the Model 3 in 2018, tells CNBC that profits that high just aren’t possible.
“The best estimate I would have for the hashrate for the GPU in the Model 3 would be around 7-10 MH/s. Currently, at 10 MH/s, that would generate revenue of about $13.38 worth of ether, before any expenses,” Sohmers told CNBC.
Allessi tells CNBC that he doesn’t bother with mining anymore.
“The difficulty is so high…I could make more money working at McDonald’s,” he said.
“It will use its earnings, from both transportation services and cryptocurrency mining services, to pay for its own expenses, like repairs, electricity costs, and upgrades, as well as invest them into a diversified portfolio of emerging crypto-community networks,” Raval said.