Tesla owner claims $800 a month by hacking his Model 3 to mine cryptocurrencies

By Jesse Coghlan
January 11, 2022 0

Two Tesla owners spoke to CNBC about how they’ve modded their electric vehicles and repurposed some battery power to turn them into a cryptocurrency mining rig, mining Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero in the process.

Siraj Raval of San Francisco explained that he had tried “just about every way there is to mine for cryptocurrencies” from his 2018 Tesla Model 3. The first iteration of which involved an Apple Mac mini M1 running mining software plugged into the centre console 12-volt power socket via an inverter.

Raval also created a rig of interconnected GPUs (graphics processing units) placed in the “frunk” or “front trunk” of his Tesla, running the units from the car’s battery.

Whilst the modifications to Raval’s car risks voiding his warranty, he says it’s “worth it”, and claimed he was netting as much as US$800 a month when the price of $ETH peaked last year.

Tesla hacker and crypto miner, Thomas Sohmers, argued that the profits Raval claimed “just aren’t possible”.

“The best estimate I would have for the hash rate 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 US$13.38 worth of ether, before any expenses,” Sohmers told CNBC.

Another Tesla hacker and electric car dealer, Chris Allessi, also tried a few different ways to mine cryptos from his Tesla Model S, and runs a YouTube channel, KManAuto, where he builds custom electric cars.

Allessi said he plugged a Bitmain Antminer S9 Bitcoin miner directly into his car battery via power inverter. He also used the vehicle’s internal firmware to mine for altcoins, using the Tesla’s built-in Web browser to open a web page specifically set up to mine Monero.

Allessi stated that even though it was profitable, “it was hardly worth it,” even with the free and unlimited supercharging that came with his Tesla.

In 2018, over an estimated 60-hour window, Allessi’s Model S would mine about US$10 of Bitcoin, and because of the free supercharging, all of it was at a profit.

“Why would you want to put that kind of wear and tear on a US$40,000 to US$100,000 car?” he said. “And right now, even though the price for bitcoin has gone up dramatically, so has the difficulty level…in the same amount of time with the exact same equipment, I’m probably looking at US$1 or US$2 worth of bitcoin.”

Allessi felt similarly about mining for the privacy coin, Monero.

“Did it work? Yes,” he said. “Did it mine anything worthwhile to be able to be profitable in any way, shape, or form? No.

“The difficulty is so high… I could make more money working at McDonald’s.”

Raval was more optimistic, saying that he sees potential for crypto mining via vehicles in the future, when the self-driving capabilities reach a point where owners can use their cars as “Robotaxis”, earning cryptocurrency and ride fares whenever he isn’t using it.

He said that his car would pay for itself, using its earnings, from both transportation and cryptocurrency mining services, to pay for expenses, like repairs, electricity costs, and upgrades.


Jesse Coghlan

Journo for CryptoVista - reporting on all things crypto, NFT, blockchain, metaverse, and DeFi.

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