It is common knowledge now – especially among the popular Model 3 “boat mode” videos from China – that Teslas is handling flooding quite well. But while a Tesla’s battery and powertrain are hermetically sealed, there are water levels that can still prove to be a bit too dangerous or risky.
This was certainly the case in a recent incident involving a Tesla Model S in Helen, Georgia earlier this month. Helen has been hit by a lot of precipitation recently due to Tropical Storm Fred. As reported by local reports, White County officials were busy most of Tuesday August 17 with storm-related issues such as power outages and flooding. Helen, in particular, saw some of her streets inundated by the overflowing waters of the Chattahoochee River.
It was in one of these streets that a Tesla Model S owner decided to brave the deep waters. But unlike his fellow EV owners in China who take their Model 3s through flooded streets to their vehicle’s wheel arches, the Model S owner seemed to go even further. At one point during the all-electric sedan’s foray into the flooded street, the waters were so deep that the Model S no longer looked like it was in “boat mode.” Instead, it looked like the vehicle was already in “underwater mode”.
Such a stunt, of course, isn’t really recommended, and one can only imagine the Model S’s repair bill if its journey through the flood waters went wrong. Luckily for the Tesla owner, however, the all-electric sedan appeared to have withstood the floodwaters fairly well, as it appeared to pass through the area unharmed. Videos taken of the vehicle as it crossed revealed that some motorists were quite astonished at the feat.
Elon Musk has mentioned in the past that Tesla can actually operate as impromptu boats for short periods of time. This was demonstrated in China in July when a Model 3 owner used his all-electric sedan to exit a flooded tunnel that was already filled with other vehicles that were stopped due to rising waters. The dramatic video, which showed the Model 3 owner shooting the car through a flooded area, thankfully ended with Tesla finding safe ground. This allowed the owner of the Model 3 and his passengers to escape the flood waters to safety.
Tesla in China are actually tested in a flood simulator at the Gigafactory in Shanghai before being shipped to delivery centers. The installation simulates flooded streets, and each Model 3 and Model Y manufactured at Giga Shanghai is subjected to the simulator before being sent to delivery centers or overseas. This allows the company’s vehicles to be prepared for the many typhoons that typically hit China and neighboring regions each year.
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