Can an electric vehicle drive through flood waters? Flooding rains have hit large swathes of northern Australia and one electric vehicle owner has proven that for his Tesla Model 3 at least, a bit of water is not a problem.
Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk joked at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in 2019 that he has a submarine car design sitting around somewhere – but it appears that, in certain conditions at least, all that may be needed is a Tesla Model 3.
Determined to continue on his journey from Melbourne to Darwin despite wet conditions, John-Paul Thorbjornsen shared his story of driving his P3D+ Model 3 (aka Ruby the Red Rocket) through a Tennant Creek road moments before local police closed it due to floods.
Having spent the last 9 days skirting the eastern seaboard via Sydney and Brisbane up to Townsville, Thorbjornsen and Ruby then headed inland where an impending deluge threatened to delay the electric road trip.
— JPTSLA ⚡️🏎 (@JPTSLA) January 30, 2020
But this hasn’t daunted the intrepid EV owner, whose 5,700km+ trip to Darwin will then be followed by a jaunt to Perth.
Who was it that said electric cars can’t drive from Melbourne to Sydney?
Thorbjornsen, otherwise known as @JPTesla, has now proven his Model 3 can not only drive from Melbourne to Australia’s far northern outback, it can also deal with a good 500mm depth of water.
— JPTSLA ⚡️🏎 (@JPTSLA) January 31, 2020
“It was on Peko Road, Tennant Creek,” Thorbjornsen told The Driven in a note.
“We had just pulled in to head to the 3-phase power at the caravan park. It was about 9pm and we’d just done 100km in storms.
“The road was completely covered and the local police had just closed the road. We waited for 30 minutes and watched a police Hilux wade through.
“It was 300-500mm at the deepest by watching the police cruiser. We tackled it fine, got a nice little bow wave happening and cruised through.”
Good stuff – although we will take a moment to note that in rapidly changing conditions, advice for those thinking about driving through water is: “If it’s flooded, forget it.”
Amusingly, Thorbjornsen also noted that in a separate incident, he and his brother witnessed a Ford Falcon get stuck in a similar depth.
Driving through around 300mm of water in flooded Tennant Creek.
We pass a stranded ICE car 😅
— JPTSLA ⚡️🏎 (@JPTSLA) February 2, 2020
Meanwhile, Thorbjornsen continues his electric roadtrip – more of which you can follow via his blog about it on Medium here.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.