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What makes electric cars perform so effectively in floods?

While electricity and water typically don't mix well, electric cars surprisingly perform effectively in water. This has been demonstrated in recent footage of flooding in Dubai.

You may have come across these pictures on social media or in certain news outlets recently. They show electric cars navigating through flooded streets in Dubai. The city is currently experiencing its worst floods in history, caused by heavy rains on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. The amount of rain that fell in just 24 hours is equivalent to two years' worth of precipitation. This has led to widespread chaos in the Emirate, despite its location in a predominantly desert area.

How do Teslas and a Porsche Taycan manage to perform so effectively in conditions that are typically more suitable for a boat, as seen in widely circulated videos on social media?

It's undeniable that the visuals leave a strong impression. The first video captures a Tesla from the interior, navigating through a flooded road with water almost reaching the top of the windshield, likely due to the wave caused by its advance. Within moments, it successfully crosses to the other side of the ford and continues on its journey unfazed.

In another video of a Tesla, this time from an external perspective, a white Model 3 drives confidently down a road where other cars are at a standstill. Despite its hood being completely submerged, the Tesla continues on its path without hesitation.

 The third video shows a Porsche Taycan from an external perspective, with the German electric sedan navigating through water that reaches up to its wheel arches. The car appears to sway and struggle, almost getting stuck, but the driver perseveres and successfully moves it forward. Eventually, the car regains traction and safely returns to dry land without any damage.

The particularities of electric

Despite the fact that these behaviors captured in Dubai are both unconscious and dangerous, it is important to avoid attempting to replicate them. There are valid reasons why electric cars are well-suited for such situations. While water and electricity typically do not mix well, electric vehicles have been specifically designed to withstand water, with waterproof "capsules" protecting the batteries and motors to prevent short circuits or electrocution. However, caution is still necessary as there are numerous electrical cables in the car that, if damaged, could result in the high voltage battery being disconnected and the car becoming immobilized.

Moreover, unlike traditional cars, combustion engines in electric cars do not require air for operation. This eliminates the risk of the engine "drinking" water, whether through the intake or exhaust. Despite the presence of a cooling circuit with a radiator at the front, there is no risk of water causing oxidation in submerged connectors in the long run.

Additionally, electric cars tend to be heavier than their traditional counterparts due to the weight of their batteries. This weight, although a concern for various aspects such as tire wear and road safety, actually helps with stability. The batteries are typically placed low in the floor, lowering the car's center of gravity. This allows the car, as shown in the Porsche video, to maintain better contact with the ground, preventing it from being carried away by water and losing control.


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