Since Tesla introduced their first vehicle in 2008, the Roadster, as the first completely electric vehicle, it has been a company full of innovation and refined design. Their latest prospect, the Cybertruck, turned a lot of heads—but can it handle adventuring and water?
Unlike gas-powered cars, a Tesla electric vehicle will not immediately start taking on water and is more likely to float for a short time due to an encased battery pack that Tesla uses. Ultimately, allowing the driver to use the accelerator pedal to propel the vehicle through the water.
In recent years, Tesla has become one of the top-rated carmakers in the nation. With the explosion they had into the market as the first all-electric vehicle and their eye for design, it was only natural for them to be the first creator of a car that can float for a short period. Their original enclosed battery pack used similar concepts to a skateboard, but with a wider base. However, this last year Tesla released a new idea of a structural battery pack, the question is, will it float too?
Will the Cybertruck Float?
Cybertruck production is set to begin later this year (2021). The Cybertruck is designed for someone who is at war with curves but built out of sharp angles creating a unique vehicle design that you have never seen before.
The first Cybertruck is expecting to be ready shortly after, although no release date has been said. The Cybertruck will be tough and built for off-roading, it’s going to be including a new air suspension system that will help it be top of the line for off-roading activities.
Since the Cybertruck was introduced in the fall of 2019, Elon Musk has since claimed the Cybertruck may “float for a while.” This statement was in response to a question regarding its fording capabilities on Twitter during the middle of last year.
Although additional details were not provided. This was not the first time that Musk has stated that a Tesla vehicle could float in some capacity. A few years ago, a Model S went through a flooded tunnel without an issue, prompting Musk to point out it’s impressive water resistant properties.
How Can Tesla Cars Float?
It’s believed the Model S can float due to the hermetically sealed battery pack lining the floor of the car. This uses a skateboard design. Since the inner workings of the vehicle won’t fail for some time, the driver can use the accelerator pedal to propel the Tesla through the water.
It is now a question as to whether the Cybertruck will be using similar technology, which will allow for it to be able to resist flooding for a little bit
When you compare the Tesla electronic lineup to most combustion engine cars, they get stuck in the water the moment that the exhaust becomes flooded, this is also a reason that serious off-roaders have big exhaust scoops leading to the roof.
Possible Design Change Upcoming for Tesla
Tesla is abandoning its original skateboard design, and talk is that they will be taking on a structural battery rather than a battery pack within their upcoming designs. Tesla intends to integrate the battery pack into the body structure. Utilizing their new 4680 battery cells that go inside of a structural pack.
Ultimately, the frame of the vehicle would serve as its own battery pack. However, this process of integrating a new design will take years to be able to implement and will not be seen in manufactures across the world for quite some time. But Tesla is wanting to do this within the most affordable options using:
- Cell Design
- Cell Factory
- Anode Materials
- Cathode Materials
- Cell Vehicle Integration
For Tesla to reach a more affordable solution they needed to make the battery pack simpler with less mass but keep the structural integrity of the vehicle intact.
Musk was inspired by other industries. He would take various concepts, like the fuel tank being in the wing of an airplane and use a similar concept, like. And turn it into something else. He did this by turning the luggage compartment into structural significance, creating more space. Also was their step towards creating the unibody stamping that is laid out in the patent.
Tesla’s New Structural Pack That May Be More Water Resistant
The new structural battery casing not only produces the energy a car needs to operate fully but also ensures the car is extremely safe. By using this design, it will help save mass in the car making it lighter.
With less mass and a lighter body, the car can travel further on each charge and becomes more energy efficient. However, this does pose a few complications such as replacing an old or defective battery will be virtually impossible as the battery would be part of the car structure.
4680 Battery Cells in Works
Electric vehicles need to be produced at a lower cost and presented as a more affordable option for electric vehicle usage to grow worldwide. To manufacture a cheaper car, Tesla needs to be able to produce a more affordable cell this is why the plan for the 4680 Battery Cells was introduced at Tesla’s Battery Day in 2020.
Throughout this process of development, the goal was to find the most cost-effective, but powerful energy cells to build their vehicles. Tesla has been testing out many different things. Including the sweet spot when it comes to cell size and form factor, and cost while keeping the range and performance as a key element. The final product adds five times the amount of energy, 16% more range, and six times the amount of power while still recuring the dollar-per-kWh battery cost by 14%.
Tesla’s Original Battery Pack
Up until now, Tesla’s vehicles were composed of aboard and a flat battery, which was often referred to as the skateboard bottom. The pieces are put together in the factory, it was designed this way to create a low center of gravity and increase structural integrity. It also allows for easy access to the battery pack, where they could make changes in the design or functionality down the road.
However, this did not happen, and instead, Tesla had to begin their design process over again to make improvements in cost and function.
Don’t Try to Get Your Tesla to Float
Please do not try this at home unless the situation requires it. Musk himself does not recommend it despite his tweet from June of 2016 where he said that the Model 3 appears to float well enough to function as a boat “for short periods.”
If you are in floodwater the trick according to Musk is to accelerate the vehicle through the water while turning the wheels right to left. One thing to be aware of is that you do not know how the rest of the vehicle will react as it is unknown.
Multiple Tesla’s May Float for Short Time
The question remains, how much water can a Tesla float in, for how long is it able to float? One also must wonder; how will these change in the core technology and base of a Tesla impact its ability to do this?
The only thing we do know is that right now some models can theoretically float for a short time, such as the Cybertruck, more than likely due to their battery pack design. Will Tesla run with this ability? Only time will tell.