There’s a video making the rounds in which a Tesla Model S owner in Kazakhstan found himself in the middle of a flooded tunnel. Traffic was more or less at a standstill as vehicles with internal combustion engines were essentially stranded but the Model S owner decided to plow through the high waters and get on with the rest of his day.
The video itself is rather impressive but what’s more interesting here is the fact that it got the attention of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. On Twitter Sunday, Musk linked to the story from Electrek and added that while such behavior certainly isn’t recommended, the Model S can float well enough to turn into a boat for short periods of time. Maybe that Lotus submarine Easter egg isn't so far-fetched after all?
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
In “boat mode,” the rotation of the wheels acts as thrust, Musk confirmed.
Again, don’t go driving your Model S through flooded roadways. Aside from the obvious danger of being swept away by potential underlying currents, there’s always the risk that water could seep into the sealed battery compartment or other electrical components and cause all sorts of trouble.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy was responsible for the destruction of 16 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrids in Port Newark, New Jersey. After being submerged under five to eight feet of seawater for several hours, corrosive salt got into a low-voltage vehicle control unit of one of the vehicles, causing a short circuit that led to a fire. Heavy winds spread the flames to nearby cars and well, the photo above explains the rest.
Jalopnik reported at the time that, all said and done, flood waters resulted in the write-off of 300 Fisker vehicles totaling $30 million.