Tesla Model X Falcon Wing Doors Automatically Open When Submerged


Well, it turns out a Tesla Model X can float for a bit, and once it sinks, you’ll be able to easily exit the vehicle.

To be more specific, the Model X does actually float for a brief time, even with the windows down. While it’s still floating, the electric SUV’s signature Falcon Wing Doors remain closed. But, as you can see, as it begins to go under, the doors automatically open.

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Teslarati first tracked down a video of the aftermath of the incident, which was shared by Flashphoto NL. As the story goes, the Model X somehow “fell” into the Korte Haven canal in Schiedam, Netherlands.

Fortunately, the driver wasn’t injured and opted to forego medical attention. The Model X was eventually lifted out of the waterway by a crane.

As we previously reported, when we shared the recent “floating Tesla Model S and a bag of onions” story (linked above), these Tesla vehicles do have a tendency to float, at least for longer than one might expect. The flat, sealed underbody apparently makes the EV a better boat than most typical ICE cars seem to be.

CEO Elon Musk actually went so far as to say in the past that – although he doesn’t advise it – the Model S could make a pretty good boat, temporarily. There’s no engine to hydrolock, the vehicle will actually propel itself through the water, and the electrical components may fare okay for a brief period of time. You just won’t get very far before you sink.

At least if you use your Tesla Model X as a boat (please don’t), it will let you out when it sinks.

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Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla, Videos

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30 Comments on "Tesla Model X Falcon Wing Doors Automatically Open When Submerged"

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Looks like it took so long to open you would have drowned first.

Makes it easier to recover the bodies though.


As can be seen in the video, the car was floating (i.e., wasn’t filled with water and so likely any occupant would not be in immediate danger of drowning). Only when it submerged far enough, the doors opened automatically.

This behavior appears to be designed to maximize safely… float as long as possible and only when submersion is imminent, open doors to allow egress.

If Ted Kennedy had driven a Model X, he probably would have been elected President in 1972.
And Mary Jo Kopechne would still be alive.
Kind of brings an immediacy to talk about cars floating and doors opening. I used to live in Miami and it seemed like every other month they were dragging a car out of a canal with a body in it. It is hard to get out of a car with regular doors and power windows after it goes into the water.

Nearly one fatality per month in Florida from 2008 to 2012. There aren’t a lot of good ways to die, but drowning in a car is pretty bad…


Not likely. The car he was driving flipped over onto its roof. The Falcon Wing doors wouldn’t open at all in that case.

The facts do not at all support the conclusion you jumped to. Even cracking open a single one of the rear doors would have allowed water to flow into the car, stopping water pressure from holding the doors closed. It doesn’t seem likely that both rear doors would have been held fully shut by the car sinking to the bottom of a flowing stream or river.

Mind you, I think Ziv’s conclusion is also far from certain. Popping open the rear doors would not necessarily save someone who was trapped in the front seat of a car that was submerged, especially if the front door was jammed shut during the accident. The victim would have had to be (a) conscious, (b) uninjured enough to crawl or swim into the back seat, (c) in a situation where she could move that freely, and (d) aware that this is what she needed to do to have a chance of surviving, despite being in the dark inside a fully submerged car.


“probably” is kind of a weasel word in this case. “possibly” probably would have been a better choice. But my comment was intended to be sardonic/sarcastic rather than completely accurate. I used to read about people getting dragged out of the canal the morning after they crashed into it. Just thought it must be a horrible way to go. If the auto opening falcon doors give trapped people a way out, more power to Tesla. No pun intended.
Still not sure how it would work if you are inside the front of an X and suddenly water starts pouring in from the falcon doors.

Disappointing. It should have morphed into a submarine…..

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Wait for the OTA for that.


Elon Musk bought the Lotus Esprit used in the Spy who Loved Me a few years ago and vowed to restore/improve it.

Yeah, but despite what was shown by “movie magic” in “The Spy Who Loved Me”, that car didn’t convert into a submarine. They used a mockup for the underwater scenes, one which wasn’t even watertight. The “driver” had to wear scuba gear for the scene, and the interior looks nothing like a passenger car.


Does it short the electronics in salt water?
Many car do that, so they have emergency hammers inside.

I haven’t seen a car with emergency hammers inside.

It’s like a heavy screwdriver with a pointy end. Mine is in the door pocket.

It’s mandatory where I live (in cars with a certain number of passenger seats), when it is in a category called minibus (10-17 seats). You need another license to drive it.

In minivans where it’s a longer distance to the passengers there are usually one hammer in the back. Even if it has only 5-9 seats.

In regular buses, an emergency hammer is also mandatory (there have to be a certain number of hammers in a larger bus ( 4 – 8 depending on the number of seats, and the layout ).
Many cars are sold with an emergency hammer too, that has a seat belt knife integrated in the handle.

A normal design is this one: https://www.ford-tilbehoer.no/sikkerhet/ford-assistance/n%C3%B8dhammer/1761591
Orange, and glow in the dark. Other models have more discrete black hammers.

Tiny glass breakers and seat belt cutters are also fairly common. Some with the inscription: We think about your safety (and then a company logo, since it’s often a giveaway item).

There has been instances where a vehicle drives into salt water, and the electronics stops working after just a few seconds. Fries all the electronics.

Most, electrical connectors and components outside of the passenger cabin need to be sealed to withstand exposure to the typical weather, washing, road spray, etc. a car would see. On Tesla’s the battery pack is probably also sealed.

I love the line “fortunately nobody was electrocuted.” I guess nobody understands how electricity works these days.

People are dumb on average…

Speaking of the video and the disturbing music; we all had to watch as the Model X slowly sunk, but the videographer missed the doors opening! How can this be?

Stupid question, if dropping a hair dryer into a tub while someone is taking a bath can kill them, would dropping a hair dryer into a medium sized pool kill anyone swimming in the pool? Say a 6′ deep pool 50′ long and 25′ wide. Would the amount of water diminish the electrical shock or would it have no impact? Water isn’t a perfect conductor of electricity, but it is a fair one, so my guess is that the answer is, “It depends”.
And so if you crashed a Tesla S into a swimming pool at high speed and ruptured the pack, it might kill anyone swimming in the pool due to the higher voltage but if you crashed into a canal, the shock wouldn’t be fatal unless you were really close to the ruptured pack. But I have to admit, I am not entirely sure of that.

“Water isn’t a perfect conductor of electricity, but it is a fair one,”

Pure water isn’t a conductor (free of ions and impurity). Pool water and tub water isn’t pure water.

“And so if you crashed a Tesla S into a swimming pool at high speed and ruptured the pack, it might kill anyone swimming in the pool due to the higher voltage ”

Depending on if the body in the water is part of the path for current that goes back to the battery pack. The 400V DC pack is only 400V between the positive and negative terminal. Unlike AC power, it isn’t 400V with respective to ground.

Thank you, sir, for those reality checks.

Thanks for the reply! So salty or brackish water may be more dangerous than clean river water with no salt in it? But the electricity will generally take the path between the positive and negative terminals so the risk of electrical shocks are small regardless of the amount of salt in the water?
Thanks again for the post!

The electrical path is between the positive and negative terminals in a BEV. Quite different than the electrical grid your house is connected too. It would be nearly impossible for the people in the pool to be electrocuted by a Model X crashing into the pool.

Thanks for pointing out that the path is between the terminals and not through all the surrounding water. Interesting.

Most people think things like cell phones and AA batteries can “electrocute” them if they aren’t careful. These people didn’t pay attention in science class.

“Fortunatly nobody was electrocuted” 🙂 🙂 🙂

Darn, no “submarine mode”? You’d think that would be an option, considering… 😉


When I took a test ride in a Model S, I tested the Tesla rep’s knowledge of the more arcane features of the car by asking her to pull up that Lotus submarine image. To my surprise, she did so without any hesitation all!