Don Swadley fitted a Model 3 motor into a Can-Am Maverick UTV, and it rips through the desert in silence. It’s so silent that you can hear its paddle tires churning over the sand at full speed. The unusual sound is generally muffled out by high-horsepower V8s or, in the case of a standard Maverick X3, a turbocharged three-cylinder.
Don Swadley also created other unusual off-road vehicles. He notably built a Tesla sand truck, which was featured in 2018, so this UTV is simply his newest masterpiece. Years of lessons learned from that project were transferred to the Can-Am we’re looking at today, from adjusting the long-travel suspension with Fox Racing shocks to putting together an electric drivetrain that can run 125 miles per charge with some energy left over.
Don Swadley used ten Chevy Bolt EV batteries for the Tesla Model 3 motor: each battery weighs around 70 pounds. It’s undeniably heavier than a factory Can-Am Maverick X3, which has a 900cc Rotax engine, but I’m sure it has a lot more twist. It features components from prominent companies in the electric aftermarket, such as EV West and Unplugged Performance. Extreme Performance supplied the huge brake package and rear radius rods, while SDR Motorsports created the cage and doors for safer, better construction. Swadley put it together himself, documenting the process on Instagram.
Battery and motor conversion is more than just a typical engine change. Swadley is an expert at this, and he even built his portable charger for use in his camper. It won’t last a weekend without being plugged in, he admits, but if you have access to 50-amp service, as many campers do, it’s just as useful as a gas-powered toy. It’s also unusual to reach that speed with no sound other than the tires sinking in.