Tesla Model S Drives Through Flooded Tunnel – Video


Musk Shared The Video On Twitter And Commented

Musk Shared The Video On Twitter And Commented

In this recent video (suffering from vertical video syndrome) from Kazakhstan, a Tesla Model S drove or floated past others (mostly assumed to be ICE vehicles) in a flooded tunnel. The car came out the other side intact, at least for the moment.

Getting water in an air intake or exhaust line, or in the battery or other electrical parts is bad news. The Tesla Model S battery and drive units are sealed, meaning water shouldn’t be able to enter. Not having an intake may have made a drastic difference. We don’t know for sure if the car fared any lasting damage later on, after the incident, but it looks fine upon driving out of the tunnel and “shaking off”.

People may think that water can damage an electric vehicle more easily than an ICE vehicle, but that’s seldom the case. Every situation is different, and either drive train could fare worse depending on the circumstances. No car should be used as a boat! Insurance policies will rarely help you if you drive your car through deep water.

Fisker lost $30 million worth of vehicles (Karmas) due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Being that the car was marketed publicly as an electric car, people may have been led to think that electric cars suffer more water damage. However, the Fisker was a PHEV and the damage was caused by fires related to the 12-volt battery system, found on most every car on the road today.

We’d like to add that most every electric car is thoroughly tested for water fording, both officially and unofficially. For an unofficial example, check out this video of a Nissan LEAF driving on a flooded road. And here’s one of a Volt blasting down a flooded street.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla, Videos


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36 Comments on "Tesla Model S Drives Through Flooded Tunnel – Video"

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Given the speed it picked up, I think the weight of the vehicle helped it sink down to the road surface and get some traction, unlike the lighter and stalled ice cars.

Elon tweeted:
“. . . Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. . .”

That’s just more bull**** from Elon. Most ICE cars float for a short while before sinking. There is plenty of video footage of this on YouTube. I highly doubt the Model S floats any longer than an ICE before it sinks just like an ICE.

If the Model S really floats like a boat as Elon claims, then maybe he could explain why that Model S owner in Texas drowned after he drove his car into a pool and it immediately sank like a rock to the bottom of the pool.

Tesla fanbois bash me all you want, but Elon should really stop making such outlandish claims in his Tweets.



Maybe he just put it in “Lotus Esprit” mode?

Yes, and it must be apparent that Elon has gone off the deep end…

Simple physics, simple Sven. Shove a boat (an object designef to float) straight underwater, and behold– it no longer floats. Leave a window cracked, and a Model S (which is not designed to be a boat) sinks even faster. Does it make more sense to you now?

Float a Model S out onto the water’s surface, and it stays boyant for a time, as seen by your very own eyes, as you watched the video yourself.

Here is another perfect example of your personal biases (hate of Elon and his success) filtering your erroneous perceptions. The BS I see, is entirely yours.

Another large difference between an EV and an ICE is:

Ever seen a movie/new clip of an ICE going into a river? They always go down nose first. The reason is the engine block in the front. This presumably makes the vehicle much less likely to stay on the surface for long. An EV like the Tesla however has a fairly evenly distributed weight.


Sorry Anon, but you drank too much Tesla Kool-Aid. The Model S in that flooded tunnel was NOT floating. You can tell how deep the water is by looking at the water line on the cars that the Model S passes in the tunnel. It’s time to step outside the Tesla Reality Distortion Field.

Anon said:
“Simple physics, simple Sven. Shove a boat (an object designef to float) straight underwater, and behold– it no longer floats.”

Are you saying that the Texas Tesla did a swan dive off the diving board into that pool, and that’s why it didn’t float? Really? How do you know it didn’t drive into the pool and hit the water with its belly/battery-pack?

Doesn’t Tesla also use 12V systems? If Fiskar was affected only due to 12V, so would Tesla and all the other EV that, AFAIK, also use 12V systems under similar circumstance.

Ballsy move.

That’s not courage; that’s stupidity.

Who knows what damage may have been done to that Model S; damage that might soon render the car inoperable, or perhaps create a problem that will not surface for years?

The only cars which should be driven into water above the floorboards are those designed for it.

Potential damage was discussed in a Tesla forum in 2014. The consensus is that submerging for any length of time is harmful, so a brief tunnel splashing should be fine. Someone even suggested using dry rice to absorb water from some parts. https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/what-if-theres-flood-and-battery-gets-under-water

The best response from TeslaTap.com | June 27, 2014:

“Once you get significant water in the cabin, you’ll have major mold and electrical connector corrosion problems in any car. Usually the car is totaled at that point.”

“Even ICE lead acid batteries will die if you flood them. Now the Tesla battery is sealed from normal road water. When you submerge any item (i.e. Tesla battery, ICE engine, etc.) the water pressure will typically rupture the seals or find other entry points. In an ICE car there are many water entry points to the engine that will destroy it.”

“So submerging is really bad, splashing water is fine.”

“You could try to put your previously submerged car in a vat of rice (to absorb the water) but I doubt it will help” 🙂

NKYTA adds: “RICE WORKS with the fob (a shell around the battery), why not the car?”

That was not a tunnel splashing, that was a tunnel submersion. When the water is lapping over the hood, I think it’s safe to say its a submersion. He should have made a wake/wave with his bumper and slowly followed it in the trough (lower water) behind the wake/wave as experienced off-roaders do when fording deep water.

Or, alternatively, do what people who don’t own off road vehicles do and refrain from driving through areas where you can’t see the road surface!

Now there’s a thought.

… let alone a bunch of obviously flood water-knackered vehicles!

What an arris this driver is! Aside from the above, if the stuck car nearest to him had his window open they would have been soaked by his moronic ‘bow’ wave…

At the end of the video, did he start swerving left and right to shake the water out of the frunk?

Ask the owner his intention…

I would, but my Kazakhstani is a little rusty. Maybe you could ask him for me.

While it might survive, there are water intrusion detectors inside the pack (as with most electronics). So if the water does get in, (such as if it was sitting in the water an extended period of time) your warranty is void (just like with any flooded car).

Best not to try fording deep water with any car.

Do you know if the article is correct in stating the the drive units are sealed? I would think that EV motors would have breather tubes like on the differentials of ICE cars to relieve air pressure when heated up. If the motors are truly sealed, the air pressure inside the motor would build up when the motor heated up with no way to escape and relieve the pressure.

Elon said they’re sealed. Would expect him to know the vehicle pretty well first hand, as he oversaw all design and production of it.

Elon been wrong plenty of times and he has a habit of twisting the truth.

For instance, Elon said/tweeted “NHTSA confirmed today that they found no safety concern with the Model S suspension.” Yet when asked after this Tweet, NHTSA said it’s still in the data gathering phase with regards the Model S suspension complaints. You would think the CEO of Tesla would know this.

sven said:

“Elon been wrong plenty of times and he has a habit of twisting the truth.”

Hmmm, let’s try something here…

Elon sven has been wrong plenty of times and he has a habit of twisting the truth.

Yup, that’s a much better fit.

You should talk.

May 7, 2015 at 10:24 am
Big IF. [Tesla Powerwall] is sold out if every online reservation converts to an order. Which it will not.

May 7, 2015 at 10:39 am
Every Tesla car sells is reserved online. If Tesla says they’re sold out from online reservations, I rather suspect they know what they’re talking about. It doesn’t require witchcraft to figure the ratio between online reservations and actual sales, merely experience.

May 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm
. . . I wish there was a less rude cliche with the same meaning as “Teach your grandmother to suck eggs”, but there’s not, and it is staggeringly appropriate here.

April 23, 2016 at 4:18 pm
$810 per kWh? Wow! That appears to be a non-competitive price. How disappointing. . . . We’ve seen a lot of articles showing a lot of interest, and pre-orders, for PowerPacks. I predict most of those orders will be cancelled, with a price that high.

Pushmi-Pullyu, go teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

Wow, there are few posters that are more unpleasant than Sven. Anyway to get him banned? He can completely ruin a thread with his aggressive, often pointless diatribes.


Good luck finding a post in which (aside from sarcasm) I say something I know not to be true.

You do that, and you do so frequently when posting about Tesla. I don’t, when posting to InsideEVs. Not once; not ever.

The difference is that stark, and that simple.

P.S. — Whatever point you were trying to make by citing from those posts from “Moop” and from me… FAIL. I have no idea what you were attempting to show or prove. Nor do I particularly care. And BTW, you’re showing more than a bit of obsession, since you’ve obviously archived quite a few of my posts.

The pack is sealed completely, but at least for the earliest versions of the drive unit, there are two small breather holes on the top: one for the inverter and one for the motor.

Of course given how many revisions it has gone through (plus the small unit) this may no longer be true. Even if they keep the small hole, they can have a one way valve there to keep water out.

Thanks for the response.

I would think as long as the vehicle was able to keep moving, it would create a wake and little water would get up inside places it isn’t supposed to. But the moment you stop in the middle of the water, things will change.

Ah the “Blue Danube Waltz.” How fitting.

Yes, very classy. 🙂

There is actually a huge difference between fresh water submersion, storm water submersion, and sea water submersion. Fresh clear water that does not have a high mineral or suspended soil content won’t do any real damage if the vehicle can thoroughly dry out in a reasonable amount of time. Storm water can be more problematic, because it may leave behind minerals and soil. Those minerals and soil can trap water and corrode metals over time, but won’t cause a short-circuit in the 12V battery. A fresh water rinse before everything dries helps substantially. Sea water (like what started fires in 3 Prius hybrids, and 1 Fisker** PHEV after Hurricane Sandy) is an entirely different story. The salt starts corroding just hours after exposure, and salt residue deposits as the water evaporates can complete the circuit in electronics. The size of the battery doesn’t matter. Even a small 9V battery can start a fire in these conditions. This can be mitigated by thoroughly flushing the vehicle with fresh water, if the exposure isn’t too long (like in this situation in this story). But for the cars at the port in New Jersey that were up to 13 feet under water until… Read more »

Tesla S and X are made of Alumininium and Titanium. There is much less corrosion to those compared to almost all ICE cars that are made of steel.

Nix said:

“Fresh clear water that does not have a high mineral or suspended soil content won’t do any real damage if the vehicle can thoroughly dry out in a reasonable amount of time.”

But that’s a big “if”. The problem is that water under pressure can be forced into cracks and small holes, into places where it can’t evaporate from quickly. Especially places in a high-tech BEV containing lots of electronics.