Elon Musk has confirmed that the Tesla Model S floats well enough to turn into a boat “for short periods of time,” with “thrust via wheel rotation.”
Musk’s comments were in reaction to a video shared over the weekend (embedded above), which appears to show a man driving a Tesla Model S through a flooded tunnel in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Model S seems to be unfazed by the metre-deep water: it simply starts floating, then powers past some flooded internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, the water gracefully lapping against the car’s bonnet.
While it might seem a little incongruous for an electric car become a boat, it makes some sense if you think about it. Most conventional ICE cars have an exhaust pipe that’s low to the ground and quickly becomes flooded if you drive through deep water. Battery-powered vehicles, on the other hand, don’t have an exhaust pipe. (I wonder if fuel-cell vehicles, which do have an exhaust, can be used as a boat.)