Like A Boss: Tesla Model S Driver Ignores Deep Floodwater, Emerges Victorious

Tesla founder Elon Musk hasn’t been able to walk on water yet, though some of his “followers” probably believe him capable of doing so.

Actually, Tesla’s cars are closer to achieving that if we agree that the automotive equivalent of walking on water is wading through deep water without any visible damage.

A Tesla Model S was spotted doing just that in Texas recently. In the footage posted on Twitter by user Richard Richter, the red electric vehicle is seen wading through some pretty deep floodwater on a neighborhood street as other sedans remained parked on the side of the road.

Also watch: Guardrail Impales Tesla Model 3, Driver Makes It Out Unhurt!

The Model S driver kept a steady pace and managed to make it safely to the other side, helped by the lack of a front grille and the fact that the drive units and battery pack are sealed and water can’t get to them.

Come to think of it, this isn’t the first Tesla Model S we’ve seen pulling such a stunt. Back in 2016, a black Model S successfully crossed a flooded tunnel in Almaty, Kazakhstan, prompting Elon Musk to enthusiastically tweet: “We *def* don’t recommend this, but Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.” He hasn’t tweeted yet about the most recent “floating” Tesla, though.

While it looks spectacular, we wouldn’t recommend Tesla owners to wade their way through deep water because we all know that water is capable of reaching anywhere. There’s no telling which sensitive areas of the car, such as the wiring, can be affected by water in the long run. A short-circuit could set the car on fire while it sits in a parking lot, for example.


  • Sovereignty

    Nissan Leaf could do that back in 2010. I’d rather have an SUV or a truck to do that in though!

  • mick

    Let’s see how victorious that car is in a few months. Lots of opportunity for water to do damage that won’t be immediately evident.

    • Sovereignty

      Some brand new cars are showing signs of rusting on when new owners are taking delivery. Driving it through water that deep certainly won’t help.

    • BlackPegasus

      Yes… Teslas batteries are mounted to the floor. Insurance companies will automatically total out any Tesla that’s been in water.

  • ctk4949

    The water wasnt that deep. lol!!

  • roy


  • Bash

    That opening sentence though… 😁😁😁😁 it’s killing me.

    • Mike anonymous

      Oh my Goodness (haha)

      Tesla founder Elon Musk hasn’t been able to walk on water yet, though some of his “followers” probably believe him capable of doing so.


    • Javokhir_Sam

      Absolutely nailed it. 🙂

  • Mr. EP9

    And so what? I’ve seen trucks and other cars do the same thing. I’m not impressed and it’s still reckless either way because there’s no real way to know how deep the flood waters are until you are in the middle of it and your vehicle could get swept away at that point.

  • Six_Tymes

    idiot car owner

    • Matt

      lol everyone is an ‘idiot’ in your view!

  • Ilbirs

    All seems correct there:

    1) The water level is on the middle of the wheels;

    2) The driver took the correct measure of forming a wave in front of the car and constant speed.

    We must remind that electric hardware for cars is kept well sealed against water and hydraulic lock isn’t a concern when the propulsion is done by electric motors. We’re even seeing some electric models with a disclosed water fording capacity of 1 m/39.4 in, like the Rivian R1T and R1S. I don’t know how deep a Tesla can go into water, but for sure there isn’t an intake to be worried about.

  • Jason Clairmonte

    No, Ben. In event of disaster, fuel station lines will grow and the infrastructure will crumble. And there will be no way to get your ICE vehicle to work again. But if you put some solar and battery storage on your house, you can still charge your car, albeit slowly, in the event the grid goes down. Remember, the sun is guaranteed to shine, but Sunoco ain’t guaranteed to open.

    • Ben

      Jason, in the event of an emergency, when you get home from work and your battery is nearly depleted, how many solar panels would you need to charge your vehicle to drive, say, 30mi to safety? Better question is, how long would that take? 5hrs? 10hrs?

      I on the other hand could use the 10gal jerrycan and increase my range instantly, getting my family to safety. If the disaster is a hurricane, tornado or intense flooding, good luck getting those “guaranteed” rays of golden energy.

      Yes, in the long haul, an electric vehicle would be easy to acquire energy…eventually. But I was talking about an a natural disaster and the ability to react quickly, something EVs cannot do currently.

      • Jason Clairmonte

        Good point. I think the behavioral change approach that those of us choosing to transition to EVs may have to have is to keep it charged at all time. This means charging at home as much as anywhere else. I expect, however, that both the charging tech and storage tech will improve significantly over the next 5 years. As to how many panels you need, what you’ll need is storage. More than anything else. Its also a holistic problem. A distributed grid with homes generating the majority of their own power is inherently more stable in stable in disaster situations.

        • Ben

          I would agree that homes that produce their own source of power would be the best option in an ideal world. But even then, we run into issues. Some places only have sunny days a few times per year. Other factors can complicate how much energy could be stored such as your home’s placement relative to the Sun’s. I remember these were issues many home owners were confronted with when the first big wave of solar paneled roof solutions rolled out.

          Not everyone has the best locations to take advantage of the Sun’s rays or even access to the days of sunshine. Lastly, not only will storage solutions(volume of energy stored) need to advance, but transfer rates is the big key. How long does it take for a residential power supply to dump energy into an EV? More importantly, how much energy transfer can that specific EV manage?

          It would do no good to have a storage solution that could only transfer 5 volt per hour (I’m exaggerating figures for simplicity sake). It would also be a pain in the butt if your specific EV was capped at only charging at a rate of 2 volts per hour. Frankly, I agree that home based power solutions are a great idea, but the logistics between battery technology, charge rates, and more importantly environmental issues make that a tall order to accomplish.

  • Javokhir_Sam

    Question of the day: how hard would you get struck by electricity if you’d stick your finger into that water in that moment?

    • stockinbug

      None. Electricity takes the shortest path to complete a circuit. In a battery car, that path is between the two terminals of the battery. Just don’t stick your finger into the battery compartment (which is obviously sealed, since the car can drive through water.)

  • stockinbug

    …I don’t want to depend on a power grid in times of natural disaster…

    During the last serious (long lasting) power outage I lived through, the gas pumps didn’t work because they were electrically powered.

    My EV (Model 3 LR), on the other hand, is always plugged in when I’m home, so there’s a good change I’ll be fully charged when an emergency happens.

    The challenge for either type of car is to be able to drive far enough to get fuel. Gas cars have greater ranges, but are at greater risk of not having a full tank when the emergency hits. Gas cars also burn fuel while idling in traffic jams. EVs lose no range while stopped in traffic.

    Your gas station can keep a gas generator around to power their pumps, and I can, too (in fact, I do.) If gasoline is available, I can charge my car from a generator. If escaping in a hurry, however, the chances that your local gas stations have actually prepared for a quick response to an emergency is slim.

    • Ben

      Well like you said, the key is being prepared. Most people I know don’t have extra fuel stored as I do and remember to turn it over (use it before it goes bad and replace it). The same can be said with EV owners, many of us forget to plug in our smartphone at the end of the day because…life happens and we forget.

      I won’t pretend I’m an expert of EV charging rates because honestly, I find it confusing with how fast technologies are developing. But I would imagine, unless your vehicle had a fast charge feature, like smart phones, a two stroke generator isn’t going to get you on the road that quickly. Conversely, a small generator could power the pumps with enough electricity to distribute fuel(which happens in my area).

      In the event that a widespread natural disaster last a long period of time, both vehicles would have difficulties. During disasters, there’s very little time to refuel and sitting under the sun(guessing there is no overcast) isn’t going to charge up the batteries fast enough. ICE engines will go cold (no pun intended) when fuel stations run dry from all the demand.

      I can only speak from my experience, that power stations that supply homes and small business fail almost immediately during a natural disaster which is why large business(skyscrappers downtown) have their own off grid power solutions. For now, I’d rather take the immediacy of range that ICE offers, but that all could change in the next 10yrs.

      • stockinbug

        …The same can be said with EV owners, many of us forget to plug in…

        Forgetting to plug in your EV has consequences. Most EV owners don’t make this mistake more than once or twice. This is why an EV is very likely to be charged when a disaster hits.

        …a two stroke generator isn’t going to get you on the road that quickly…

        Correct, that’s a solution for a longer power outage, when you stay put in your house.

        …Conversely, a small generator could power the pumps…

        No – again, that’s a solution for a longer power outage. I doubt most service stations are prepared for a fast-moving emergency.

        …both vehicles would have difficulties…

        Exactly. Each has its advantages and disadvantages in an emergency. We could each detail scenarios where our favorite car would do better. So, I don’t worry about facing an emergency in my EV. I’ve got hundreds of miles of range on my EV. Plenty to escape most emergencies and find a fast-charger. If staying at home, I can charge fine from a small generator for trips around town.

        • Ben

          So you are suggesting a two-stroke generator for EV owners to keep their vehicle charged during an natural disaster (likely power outtage). I can’t say I know many EV owners that keep a gasoline/diesel generator and remember to roll over fuel storage for it.

          I’m sure you can appreciate the irony of charging an electric vehicle in an emergency with gasoline. Seems it would be easier and more efficient to put the stored gasoline in an ICE vehicle and cut out the hours of wait time, like I suggested….

          A small (relatively) generator will power fuel stations long enough to service the immediate area and businesses. I speak from anecdotal experience. I can’t say I’ve heard of many Leaf or Tesla owners powering up their vehicles with a small generator, but that’s just my experience.

          However, I have also seen many EV owners need to massage their schedule due to forgetting to plug in. Not every workplace has chargers. The same happens with workplace professionals who forget to charger their phones or laptops. People forget to charge things.

          There are forums filled with EV owners retelling stories of times they’ve run out of juice. No it doesn’t happen often, but it does just like people running out of fuel on the highway. Stupidity happens.

  • stockinbug

    …Range anxiety with EV vehicles still exist…

    Showing me anecdotes means little. Everything that can go wrong will, of course, happen to somebody. What matters is what MOST people experience.

    RE the lady in your anecdote, she appears new to EVs. She could call up “Plugshare” on the car’s browser. This website lists thousands of non-Tesla chargers (that the car can charge from with adapters Tesla provides with the car.) She even points out she can reach a 6kw charger. These are not the fastest chargers, but that doesn’t mean she has to wait all night (like she suggests). She only needs to add enough miles to reach her destination. A poster in the thread even points out she’s just a few miles from a Tesla store, which will have decent charging facilities. It would be like panicking because you pulled into a closed gas station. Just find another one!

    You are missing the point I made. EVs don’t run out the same way gasoline runs out. First of all, in the Tesla, the car will warn you repeatedly, and direct you to the nearest charger if your range is getting low. Secondly, there’s the reserve range when the car hits empty, so you can get your car to a safe place with a plug.

    And third – every EV driver starts the day with a full “tank” from overnight charging, making it unlikely the battery will get anywhere near zero. Of course there’s always a few idiots who can’t figure this out. They should drive something different.

    RE: turning over my fuel storage, no, I don’t store gasoline. I’d go get it when I need it. If absolutely essential, I would first drive my car to a Supercharger (up to 300 miles away) for a full charge, then get gasoline on the way home. Or perhaps I bug a neighbor to help me get some.

    • Ben

      Wait, in a natural disaster, in which you believe that gas stations will not be functional, you’re going to use what little range you might have left after searching for a charge to buy gasoline?! Then, you’re going to put that gasoline, in a 2 stroke generator (probably a Honda) and then wait hours for a bit of range? C’mon man. I appreciate that you have been respectful and that we’ve debated this like adults, but can’t you see the folly in that plan?

      Maybe you live next to Mother Teresa, but most neighbors think for themselves first, then outsiders. Needing to kindly ask your neighbor for help getting your EV charged isn’t time efficient nor wise in a natural disaster.

      Instead of doing all that, maybe have a cheap gas hybrid such as a Honda CRZ. They’re incredibly cheap and fuel efficient. Anyway, to your point, just because someone is an idiot and didn’t charge their EV doesn’t make their experience invalid. The fact is when an EV runs out of juice, you’re at more of a disadvantage than when an ICE vehicles does the same emergency situations.

      And yes, I know about the fail safe of range that most EVs have, but gasoline engines have the same. Hell, ask any college student how long they’ve been buzzing around on E or when the light comes on. Vehicles in general have a bit more to give instead of immediately switching off the very second 0/E is hit.

      I’m not trying to nail EVs to a cross here and I appreciate your fervor to defend them, but you must admit when a technology is limited or not the best choice in a situation. Example being, I’m not going to argue with a Tesla owner which car is faster in “everyday” scenarios. The Tesla is. Sure, ICE vehicles will inevitably blow past an EV and especially on a track, but the given situation was “everyday” meaning sprints only to roughly 80mph.

      Like you said, “a few idiots”, are going to run out of charge and not plug in their EV when they should. When a commodity is sold in the hundreds of thousands and millions, those few idiots are enough to fill entire sections of forums with stories of running out of range, as I said earlier.

      Lastly, I think you’ve missed the concept of our debate here. I’m not arguing that EV’s have unusable range, but their ability to adapt in a natural disaster situation is hampered by battery storage, charge rate and more importantly the infrastructure that is needed to charge. You can find a few articles where someone went to a supercharger during a power outtage and was able to charge their vehicle. But it is also noted in those articles that the supply wasn’t built to be a back up, but rather to reduce load during peak charging times. Certainly not enough to meet demands of EV owners wishing to flee a natural disaster.

      • stockinbug

        …can’t you see the folly in that plan?

        As I’ve previously pointed out, we can each create scenarios where our choice of vehicle succeeds and the other fails.

        The problem with the scenario you’ve painted for me is that I’m most likely to have a full charge (300 miles), and the means to reach a working Supercharger. I wouldn’t bother to get gasoline except to power my house, if the blackout lasts long enough.

        • Ben

          Yes Stockinbug, because you are a very prepared and well though person. Do you believe you are the common car driver? Maybe, maybe not. But for the people who do fail to charge their vehicle precisely at all times, when a natural disaster hits, they will be more disadvantaged than an ICE driver. Simple. Nothing about you being prepared. I’m talking about the logistics of a situation, that many people find themselves in. We know this because gas stations are routinely mobbed when disaster strikes, showing that people were fine leaving such a limited range in their vehicle. The same can be said about EV owners. They are no smarter, advanced or prepared. People are people.

          • stockinbug

            Let’s re-write your comment, switching gas and electric:

            Yes Ben, because you are a very prepared and well though person. Do you believe you are the common car driver? Maybe, maybe not. But for the people who do fail to gas up their vehicle precisely at all times, when a natural disaster hits, they will be more disadvantaged than an EV driver (who keeps his car charged at home). Simple. Nothing about you being prepared. I’m talking about the logistics of a situation, that many people find themselves in. We know this because EV stations are routinely mobbed when disaster strikes, showing that people were fine leaving such a limited range in their vehicle. The same can be said about gas car owners. They are no smarter, advanced or prepared. People are people.

            Makes just as much sense.

          • Ben

            Clever, but this can’t be solved with a “no, you are!” If we assume, like originally proposed, that both vehicle types are near exhausted of fuel, which would be easier to increase range in the fastest way possible with a natural disaster occurring or looming.

            An ICE vehicle needs fuel inside the tank (takes 2 minutes to fill)
            An EV needs roughly 15-30mins for 80% charge (optimal charge)
            Advantage: ICE

            During a power outtage:
            +Gas stations in area prone to natural disaster have backup generators that can see demand fulfilled. In states where natural disaster is likely, it is the law gas stations have this available.
            +EV charge stations are connected to the powergrid, which usually fails in natural disasters. Battery storage is meant as a load relief, not backup.
            Advantage: ICE

            Sustained refueling options:
            +Gas stations can be resupplied fairly easily. Also, gasoline can be transported by canisters into devastated areas to assist people with need.
            +Power stations take time to resurrect be brought back online safely. Debris must be moved and circuits must be examined with a fine toothed comb. Usually transistor repair, poles, etc are needed. Power to institutions that people depend on are the priority. Not EV charging stations
            Advantage: ICE

            Thank you for the complement.

          • stockinbug


            With a disaster “looming” as you put it, the EV has the advantage for fueling, as it fuels at home. This means the “tank” is already full. The gas vehicle’s tank will be at a random level, depending on when it was last fueled.

            Advantage: EV.

            During a power outage:

            Gas stations DON’T have backup generators ready for quick deployment (I must reject your assumption; this was not the case in the extended outage I lived through.) I will accept that at least some stations will solve this problem if the outage persists. I still maintain the EV has the advantage because it is likely to be fully or nearly charged when the outage hits (EV drivers leave cars plugged in while at home. )

            Advantage: EV.

            Sustained refueling options:

            I have to give you this one, as gas refueling is quicker than charging. However, even charging (overnight) from a gas generator is enough to sustain typical driving needs. The EV driver would have to either do this or drive a long distance to a working supercharger.

  • stockinbug

    Despite the point of contention, I am sticking by my observation. Because EVs charge at home, they are more likely to be fully charged at any given moment.

    Gas vehicles are run down to near empty before refueling. EVs are, at most, down one commute from full before recharging.

    You don’t drive an EV. I do. My EV is never anywhere near empty unless I’m in the middle of a very long trip requiring fast charges.

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