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Can Teslas Float Like a Boat? What Happened to Elon’s Claim on Floating Tesla for a Short Time

Elon Musk once said in a tweet that the Tesla Model S could float like a boat. The sealed battery pack and no engine allow the EV to glide through some flooding. Tesla Model S is not only a great car but can also double as a boat! But no, don’t get your hopes too high!

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to get across a body of water, now you know what to do. However, do not keep these words etched into your memory and take your Tesla for a fishing spree. Elon Musk repeatedly specified that this can only work for a short time and is not a full-fledged ability of the electric car. 

What Did Elon Musk Say About The Model S?

The claim of Tesla cars floating is nothing new as the tweet by Elon Musk came around mid-June 2016. Elon Musk said in his tweet,

Soon after the tweet, many Tesla enthusiasts started scouring the new information about future updates of the floating feature. Elon Musk also shared a video of a Tesla Model S owner swimming his car across a flooded tunnel. He shared his excitement with the world informing about the floating ability of Model S happening because of the thrust and wheel rotation. Elon Musk also said that he plans on working on submarine tech in the future to cater to the tiny segment who wants it.

The claim comes essentially because of the sealed battery pack of the Tesla cars. However, it is still not clear or specified by Tesla how this is exactly going to work for electric cars. Regular ICE models lack from being the ability to function when water gets into the engine. However, electric cars feature sealed battery packs that allow the car’s electric motors to function even when water gets in. 

How Would Floating Car Actually Work?

Assuming that the Model S is completely submerged and watertight, it is possible for the car to float. This is because the car’s battery pack is located low in the vehicle, providing a low center of gravity. Moreover, the car’s battery pack is well sealed making it safe for the vehicle to move. The weight of the car is also evenly distributed throughout, which helps to keep it stable in water. Additionally, the tires are designed to be aerodynamic and have a high-pressure rating, which helps them to cut through water resistance. Think of the wheel rotation as the oars of the electric car that makes it possible to glide through the waters.

Tesla Model S submarine
This was an easter egg, and it doesn’t mean that Model S can float on the water, but as a makeshift boat, it’ll do for crossing flooded roads. Picture Courtesy: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

While it is possible for the Model S to float, Tesla does not recommend driving it in water as this can damage the car’s electrical components. If you do find yourself in a situation where your Model S is submerged, Tesla advises that you contact their service department as soon as possible.

Should You Drive Or Float Your Car Purposely?

As much as it might attract you to try the stunt of getting your Tesla under the water, do not try this. Any accidental exposure to water logging inside the cabin would get you in heaps of trouble. Take a cue from the mastermind himself as he says they do not recommend people take the water route in Teslas. If there is an unavoidable circumstance where you have to go through the water, be sure to do so for only a tiny period.

ICE cars or standard engine vehicles use cooler air to maintain the temperature inside the heating engine. In the case of driving the internal combustion engine, there is a chance that water gets sucked inside the engine instead of the cooler air. So, driving one through a flood is never a good idea. In fact, EVs too can have challenges but are better performing than ICE vehicles. 

There is caution because there is more information needed from Tesla before you can drive into flooding. Further details are needed as you never know if there is any damage to the chips, circuits, or the battery pack after the exposure to water. Wait for some official news to come from the leading electric vehicle manufacturer or hold your boating dreams till the Cybertruck launches with amphibious capabilities. 

Electric Vehicles like Tesla cars produce a significant amp that a human cannot withstand. This is why, if water gets logged into an EV, there is a potential threat of electrocution. However, Tesla electric cars are made with some exceptionally sealed battery packs and have an Ingress Protection system rating of around IP67. This makes the electric cars fairly safe to use even being completely submerged under water.

Long story short, Do Not Try This!

Tesla Submarine In The Future?

While Tesla has not announced plans to produce a submarine car, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. The company has a history of pushing boundaries and innovating in the automotive space, so a submarine car wouldn’t be entirely out of character. And given Tesla’s recent move into maritime transportation with its Tesla Semi Truck launch, it seems that the company is interested in expanding its reach beyond land-based vehicles.

Tesla also stated that they want to work on the water floating ability on their electric cars. Musk again clarified that Tesla cars can hold on to waters for a short while when he responded to a question about Cybertruck in 2020.

Musk has been very vocal about his love for submarine projects. Purchasing £550,000 Lotus Esprit from the famous James Bond movie converted into a submarine, “Wet Nellie” shows his love for the custom concept well.

Not to forget, the Cybercat accessory kit made exclusively for Cybertruck is a fabulous addition to turn the truck into a custom boat. The kit is made to fit on Cybertruck, including electric onboard motors, pontoons, hydrofoils, and stuff to make it an amphibian EV.

If Tesla does eventually produce a submarine car, it would likely be packed with cutting-edge technology and would be capable of revolutionizing underwater travel. Until then, we’ll have to wait and see what this visionary company comes up with next.

What To Expect Next

Elon Musk is one revolutionary mind but sometimes we just wonder how he would be able to keep up with the promises he makes on the tech front. The sky is the limit for his endeavors or should we say the sea is the limit for this one. Nevertheless, it would be exciting to see how the future promises of a submarine car project turn out for the Tesla EV. 

Model S indeed can float through water but not for longer times. Cybertruck launch is still far and the current models are not made to withstand the additional pressure that water can put on the EVs. However, Tesla does not recommend that people do any such things with their cars for long durations. It would be interesting to see what new news comes from Elon Musk on the floating abilities. Let’s hope there is more coming from the Tesla hydro clan but keep the warranty in mind while going into the water.

Purnima Rathi
Purnima Rathi
Purnima has a strong love for EVs. Whether it's classic cars or modern performance vehicles, she likes to write about anything with four wheels, especially if there's a cool story behind it.


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