With the advent of electric transport, some people are worried about what happens when an electric vehicle is submerged under water following a storm or during a flood. There’s a misconception that somehow battery-powered cars are more subject to damages than a gasoline-powered car in this situation. It didn’t help when Fisker famously lost $30 Million worth of cars in Hurricane Sandy, but to be fair, while advertised as an electric car, the Fisker Karma was more of a gas-powered car than an electric car anyway.
A recent video of a Tesla Model S driving (or swimming) passed cars with internal-combustion engines in a flooded tunnel in Russia will maybe help correct those misconceptions.
The truth is that water is bad for any type of vehicle or any mechanical and electronic device for that matter.
You simply don’t want the entire undercarriage of your vehicle to be submerged regardless of if it consists of a large battery pack or an exhaust line. In the case of the Model S, the battery pack is sealed, but there are still plenty of complications from submerging the vehicle.
Furthermore, car warranties (including Tesla’s) or insurance rarely if ever cover any damage caused by driving through flooded streets.
It’s better not to try if it’s in any way avoidable, but if you are going to submerge your vehicle in water while it’s running, it’s pretty useful not to need any air intake. It is not clear if it was avoidable in this case, but a Tesla Model S driver shared this week an interesting video of his car going through a flooded tunnel:
I particularly like how he swerves left and right like the Model S is a wet dog getting out of the water.
Update: Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared this article and commented:
We *def* don't recommended this, but Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2016
As a reader pointed out in the comment section below, the Model S owner maybe thought that Tesla’s James Bond submarine Easter Egg was a real feature: