Model S

Video of Tesla Model S swimming sparks Musk to reveal submarine car as “side project”

After a video showing a Tesla Model S driving serenely through a flooded tunnel surfaced, people across the forum community were reminded of a certain submersible Lotus Esprit S1 that starred in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), but also made a cameo as a Tesla easter egg.

In fact, a rendering of a Tesla Model S submarine was posted on the Tesla Motors Club forum by user FlatSix911.

Tesla Model S submarine

That image prompted Elon Musk to tweet that he has always been interested in doing a swimming Tesla but the market potential is somewhat limited.


Elon Musk makes reference to “The Spy Who Loved Me” James Bond submarine car

Apparently, the heavy battery pack is a benefit when it comes to navigating trick crosscurrents on a flooded roadway. However, despite being sealed immersing the car in water may not be the best for longevity of the battery, motor, and various control circuits.

Before you try fording any streams in your Tesla, you should keep in mind the experience of inveterate tinkerer and Tesla fanatic Rick, aka Btr_ftw on the Tesla Motors Club forum. He purchased a  Tesla Model S that had been drowned in a flood and attempted to resuscitate it. His adventure involved lots of time, effort, and expense. It netted him a wealth of information about how a Tesla Model S is built.

Among other things he learned along the way is that Massachusetts is the only state with a law that requires manufacturers to make their internal service and repair manuals available to customers — for a fee. In the case of Tesla, those fees can get to be thousands of dollars in a hurry. Ultimately, Rich had to raise the white flag and admit defeat.

The good news is that if you get caught on a flooded street, a Tesla Model S is better than a conventional car at handling fast flowing water. The bad news is that if any part of the car becomes water damaged, your warranty is void and you are facing some mighty expensive repairs.

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