Watch in-Cabin View of a Tesla Driving Through Windshield-Deep Water in China

Floods are a terrible thing that will devastate large areas and leave scars that will take a long time to heal, if ever. They tend to mess with everything, from people to infrastructure, buildings, cars, and even nature itself.
Tesla driving through deep water 7 photos
Photo: Reddit video screenshot collage
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We've seen how badly hit the western part of Germany was, leading to the closing down of the famous Nordschleife circuit and turning into a base of operations for the relief efforts in the area. Well, they may feel a little further away from us for various reasons, but other parts of the world are hit too, including China.

Apart from emotional gestures of human kindness and heroism, we can't think of anything good that can come out of a flood. We can, however, think of tons of bad stuff, including the worst of all: the loss of human lives. With that in mind, we do feel a bit awkward focusing on a story about a car. However, retaining the ability to move in a vehicle when everything around suddenly looks like it's been teleported to the middle of a lake can, potentially, make the difference between life and death.

We've seen how badly cars tend to mix with water, particularly of the deeper kind, and how any of it getting into the cylinders can get the engine hydro-locked almost instantly and, thus, unable to serve its purpose. Well, we also know that if there's one thing that goes even worse with water, it's electricity.

"Don't switch on the light with a wet hand", we've been told ever since we were kids. This somewhat entitled fear has led to a lot of people assuming EVs will short-circuit or something if they get into any kind of water that's deeper than your average puddle. While some puddles have indeed proven to be too much to handle for some parts of an EV (particularly the rear bumper of Tesla Model 3s), we've also seen them go through the kind of water that would have stopped all but the most extreme off-road rigs equipped with snorkels and everything.

It even led to Elon Musk famously saying that Teslas can, for short periods of time, turn into pretty efficient boats. According to the company's CEO, the EVs will float while thrust will be provided by spinning the wheels. The tweet was accompanied by the commonsense caveat that while it's possible, he can't recommend anyone to try it.

Well, there are times when you can do it just for fun, and others when you just need to go from one place to another and nature decided to place a large body of water in your way. In the latter situation, you could understand if some people decided to ignore all the risks and just soldier on in their EV, taking full advantage of a propulsion system that doesn't need air to work.

With the battery pack and motors completely watertight, the only thing immediate you need to worry about is water getting into the cabin. Assuming you remembered to close all the windows and you didn't get a shoddily made Tesla with poor sealings, the only way that can still happen is through the HVAC system. For that to happen, though, the water would have to go over the height of the hood.

It goes well over that in the clip below posted by Reddit user u/skpl, as proven by the fact that the windshield wipers became more of a nuisance than help as they lifted water onto the windshield instead of pushing it down. We guess they weren't designed with this kind of scenario in mind.

Obviously, even if water doesn't make its way anywhere visible, you still want to keep your vehicle - EV or not - away from it as much as possible, and that's because it can lead to rust, mildew, and all the bad smells that come with that. However, if you just need to go through water that's higher than the bottom of the radiator grille, opting for an EV is the safer bet.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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