A Look At Unplugged Performance: With Video!

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Unplugged Performance is a powerhouse in the Tesla vehicle performance upgrade world. It’s a company we’ve always wanted to visit, and we recently had the opportunity to tour its facilities. This gave us the chance to see some of the company’s project vehicles as well as a few of its products. During our visit we were struck by the innovative mindset of the Unplugged Performance team members. The vibe is electric (no pun intended) and forward thinking. Read on for an overview of the company and a few of its products and achievements.

One of Unplugged Performance’s latest products is a carbon fiber aero kit for the 2024 Tesla Model 3 Performance. Computational Fluid Dynamics was used to design each component of the kit. Among other things, this design process optimizes downforce, enhancing high-speed stability and cornering grip without compromising efficiency.

About Unplugged Performance

Unplugged Performance is neighbors with Tesla’s Design Studio, Tesla Glass, SpaceX, and The Boring Company. The company was founded and developed by the crew behind world-famous automotive customizer Bulletproof Automotive. The roots of Unplugged Performance can be traced way back to August 2013. One could say that Unplugged Performance had Musk-like forward-thinking. By July 2014 Unplugged Performance debuted a modified Model S at TMC Connect. In November of 2014 the company went down in history as the first company to show a Tesla at the gargantuan SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It followed up that feat in January 2016 by being the first to show a Tesla at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan. The hits kept coming as the years progressed.

Unplugged Performance has a number of unique products. One is its limited-slip differential. It’s a direct drop-in replacement for the stock Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y open differentials. It improves the distribution of power between wheels without using the brakes and stability control software.

Groundbreaking Upgrades

Unplugged Performance has been a dominant force in Tesla upgrades. For example, in September 2016 the company debuted the UP-02. This was the first fully forged wheel engineered for Tesla vehicles. It was followed by the UP-03, the first racing wheel designed for Tesla vehicles. In November 2017 suspension upgrades debuted. The first lip spoiler designed specifically to improve vehicle efficiency dropped in May 2018. And after extensive aerodynamics research, the company unveiled its high efficiency and high downforce wings in March 2019.

It’s important to note that Unplugged designs, prototypes, and manufactures its products in-house in Hawthorne, California, and collaborates with the best motorsports suppliers.

This Tesla Model 3 is fitted with the Unplugged Performance Dirt and Snow Pro Coilover Suspension Lift Kit. The adjustable kit allows 0-1.25 inches of lift to increase approach, departure, and breakover angles. The shocks and springs are designed specifically for the Model 3.

Always Innovating

Nowadays, Unplugged Performance is continuing its trajectory of cool new products for Tesla vehicles. The company’s product line encompasses all Tesla models. Some of the products for the Model 3 and Model Y include those to improve its capabilities in dirt and snow. Examples: the Dirt and Snow Pro Coilover Suspension Lift Kit and a limited-slip differential to get power to the drive wheels more quickly. For on-road performance, the company offers a wide range of products. For example, there are several exterior items for the Model 3. The list includes a rear wing, side skirts, diffusers, and front lip spoiler, depending on model. Heck, the company even offers a full aero kit for the Model 3 Performance. All these parts help to enhance the downforce and range efficiency of the car.

The new UP-05 forged wheel from Unplugged Performance can weigh as little as 19 pounds.

New UP-05 Forged Wheel

Another example of Unplugged Performance’s cutting-edge new products is its UP-05 forged wheel. The wheel is the result of a collaboration between Unplugged Performance and hypercar designer Sasha Selipanov. It offers a unique blend of style and performance tailored specifically for Tesla vehicles.

The UP-05 forged wheel, bearing Sasha Selipanov’s iconic signature, is designed to infuse Teslas with hypercar DNA. The UP-05 boasts a design that merges elegance with aggressive performance. The wheel is constructed from 6061-T6 forged aluminum. It tips the scale at as little as 19 pounds, while maintaining strength and durability. It’s engineered with meticulous attention to detail, and is optimized for use with OEM Tesla center caps, lug nuts, and TPMS sensors. This ensures seamless integration with the vehicle’s original components.

UP-05 forged wheels undergo rigorous track testing to validate their performance and strength, guaranteeing reliability for both track enthusiasts and daily commuters alike. The wheel is available in sizes ranging from 18- 22 inches. It offers versatility to cater to the preferences and driving styles of Tesla Model S, 3, X, and Y owners. Standard color options include Satin Titanium, Satin Black, Gloss Black, and Satin Bronze, with custom finishes available to provide endless customization possibilities.

Here you can see a Cybertruck fitted with the UP INVINCIBLE 2.5-inch suspension kit.

Cybertruck Product Line

Unplugged Performance went all-in on Tesla’s new Cybertruck. The company offers a mind boggling number of accessories in its UP INVINCIBLE line. For example, the 2.5-inch Cybertruck Lift Kit enhances the truck’s capabilities while maintaining optimized suspension geometry. The kit prevents the air shocks from topping out and ensures correct camber, caster, and toe alignments. Furthermore, the kit features heavy-duty 5-Axis CnC 6061 billet machined suspension components. These are designed for Baja-ready performance and offer highly adjustable options for advanced alignment. The lift increases ground clearance up to 19.5 inches, which improves approach, breakover, and departure angles. Additionally, the kit includes uprated bushings and joints that are constructed from 6061 T6 Billet Aluminum, also through 5-Axis CnC manufacturing. Comprising 26 pieces, the kit provides all necessary components. Importantly, it retains the full functionality of the factory air suspension.

More About The UP INVINCIBLE Line

The UP INVINCIBLE line for the Cybertruck also includes upgrades like the HD Front Bull Bar. This chassis-mount, winch-compatible piece is made from high-strength carbon steel. Another cool product from the off-road perspective is the Front & Rear Sway Bar Quick-Disconnect End Links. These links provide a quick and easy way to increase off-road wheel articulation. Additionally, the UP INVINCIBLE line includes HD Rock Sliders. This rocker protection system replaces the factory plastic units with carbon steel rocker panels that include bolt-on modular rock sliders that double as side steps.

Other products include front and rear bumpers, carbon fiber fender flares, a hood system with 50-inch lightbar, underbody armor, forged beadlock wheels, high-performance brake rotors and pads, and lots more.

Unplugged Performance took its Cybertruck to the track and amazed onlookers with an impressive lap time.

Unplugged Performance Puts A Cybertruck On The Racetrack

Recently, Unplugged Performance used its Cybertruck to tow its “Dark Helmet” record-setting Tesla Model S Plaid race car, from its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to Buttonwillow Raceway Park for a TeslaCorsa track day event.

After towing the 9,000-pound load over the challenging Grapevine section of the I-5 freeway, the company put the Cybertruck on the track. The mostly-stock Cybertruck amazed onlookers with a lap time of 2 minutes, 15 seconds. The truck had all-terrain tires mounted on 22-inch UP CYBRHEX wheels and it also included UP INVINCIBLE Carbon Fiber Fender Flares. It ran the track with the suspension set to HIGH for BAJA mode and it showcased adaptability in demanding situations, allowing adjustments to Stability Assist and Handling Balance.

During the trip, Unplugged Performance made a charging stop in Santa Clarita, participating in a Cybertruck meet hosted by the Tesla Owners Club of Santa Clarita Valley. This gathering marked a significant moment, with seven privately-owned Cybertrucks present, the highest ever at a single event.

Looking forward, Unplugged Performance plans to equip its Cybertruck with upcoming street-performance upgrades. This initiative aims to break the sub-2-minute lap time at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, a coveted benchmark for racers. This endeavor underscores the company’s commitment to innovation and highlights the Cybertruck’s potential as a transformative vehicle in both everyday utility and high-performance contexts.

It’s also worth noting that the Cybertruck now serves as Unplugged Performance’s dedicated race car hauler. This is a testament to its reliability and superior performance capabilities across diverse scenarios.

Unplugged Performance modified a Tesla Model S Plaid, took it to the 2023 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and set a new record for the fastest modified electric vehicle.

Dark Helmet Model S Plaid Race Car

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a bit more about the Unplugged Performance Dark Helmet race car. It’s a Tesla Model S Plaid that achieved a remarkable sub-10-minute run at the 2023 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The car, driven by Randy Pobst, placed Second in its class and an impressive 10th Place finish out of 66 drivers. It also set a new record for the fastest modified electric vehicle.

Dark Helmet, a modified luxury family sedan, accomplished this while competing against purpose-built race cars. The car weighed in at nearly 5,000 pounds, twice the weight of its top competitors.

The car was equipped with a range of Unplugged Performance upgrades. Suspension enhancements included UP X Ohlins TTX 4-way Pikes Peak Spec coilovers, billet adjustable front upper control arms, camber and toe cars, bushings, and sway bars. Furthermore, enhanced braking capabilities came from the SuperLight carbon ceramic big brake upgrade that features 15.5-inch rotors, six-piston front calipers, stainless steel brake lines, and a carbon fiber brake-cooling duct kit. Dark Helmet rode on 19-inch UP-03 Pikes Peak Spec wheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan A005 Biomass tires made from sustainable materials.

The Unplugged Performance facility has a state-of-the-art shop.

The Bottom Line

There are many facets to Unplugged Performance. From street to off-road, the company has it covered. During our tour we had the opportunity to visit the showroom, design studio, and shop. Additionally, we even had the opportunity to see the Dark Helmet Model S Plaid. Along the way we grabbed some video so you can get some insight into the company’s facilities and some of the parts it offers.

Photos by Unplugged Performance and Ken Brubaker

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About the author

Ken Brubaker

After learning to drive in a 1967 Rambler American, Ken was addicted to all things with an engine and wheels. He has owned a wide range of vehicles including a pair of 1977 Pontiac Trans Ams and a 1997 Jeep Wrangler.
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