One riveting tech story of the recent Hurricane Ian is Jeremy Judkins’s escape from the waters in “boat mode,” as reported by CleanTechnica.
First, what is the Tesla “boat mode”? The ability for tesla cars to float and be relatively waterproof is not an official feature (don’t try it!), but something that has been seen and recently touted by Elon Musk for the Tesla CyberTruck, for example.
“Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rivers, lakes & even seas that aren’t too choppy” (via Twitter)
In 2020, Elon Musk also relayed information about a Model S, which floated enough to turn into a steerable, moving boat for “a short period of time.” It’s unclear if the wheels touched the ground – this is an important detail we don’t know.
We *def* don't recommended this, but Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2016
In 2021, Teslarati reported another instance of a user driving through a “flooded highway” in China. All these instances led people to use that “Tesla boat mode.”
Returning to the recent hurricane Ian, Twitter user Jeremy Judkins learned that his home was no longer safe from flooding despite being 35 feet above sea level.
The route he took was flooded, but his Tesla Model X could move around in “boat mode,” like in previous instances we described. In the video, it looks like the wheels are still in contact with the road.
Tesla Full Self Boating Mode. pic.twitter.com/VHYpb85M2L
— Jeremy Judkins (@jeremyjudkins_) September 30, 2022
On the one hand, we would never recommend anyone to try this (neither is Tesla). On the other hand, it’s pretty amazing the Tesla cars in these various videos could pull this off.
Not having a gas engine and apparently having a “waterproof enough” construction made it possible in these specific instances.
The full video:
In the end, CleanTechnica says that Jenery Judkins’s house had minor damage, probably due to its elevated location. It’s incredible what technology and engineering can do – especially since the cars were not designed with that specific use case.
You could imagine all kinds of scenarios where it would be a terrible idea to dunk a massive battery into water. However, nothing like that happened. Phew!