I’m sure you’ve heard that you should always try to keep electricity away from water. It’s general knowledge that this combination is dangerous and could lead to injury or death. Unfortunately, water allows electricity to flow very easily. As such, electricity has an easier path from its source to the ground. If your body also happens to be in the way of the electricity on its way to the ground, it will try to go right through you.
So, can electric cars drive in water? It is safe to drive your electric car through water for the most part. Obviously, extremely deep water poses its own threats, as it is for any type of car, but you don’t have to be concerned about driving through puddles and rain. As long as it isn’t too deep, water shouldn’t carry much of a danger to the electrical side of the car’s technology.
As you know, electricity and water don’t mix, and driving an electric car through water is actually a concern that many people have. Especially if you live in an extremely rainy place. But rest assured, it is safe because the designers and technicians have made sure you, or any other passengers, are not hurt in any way. In this article, we will talk more about why it’s safe and can be significantly safer than in a regular car.
Why It’s Generally Safe To Drive An Electric Car In Water
So, how do we know that it’s safe to drive an electric car through water? First off, it’s important to remember that electric car manufacturers are well aware of the dangers of water and electricity. Building any type of vehicle, safety always has to be one of your biggest concerns. If customers buy your vehicle and then get into accidents or get hurt due to the unsafe nature of the vehicle, then those companies will lose a significant amount of money. Lawsuits from accidents like these can cost millions or even billions of dollars. As such, automakers take extra care in ensuring that their vehicles are safe for the road.
Especially in the world of electric cars, automakers know that they will be dealing with very high voltages and very high amounts of current. These can pose extreme threats to the drivers, passengers, and even other people who may be near the vehicle. To prevent this, automakers have designed these cars to handle bad weather and they have done extensive testing to be sure that they will continuously handle the elements over time and with wear and tear.
There is what is known as an IP rating. This is a measurement system for determining how protected an item is. The score used is two numbers. The first number represents how safe the object is from dust and particles on a scale of 1-6 (6 being the most protected against). The second number represents how safe the object is against water intrusion on a scale of 1-8 (8 being the most protected against). Many of today’s electric cars have an IP rating of about 67.
That would mean that it has as good of protection as possible from dust and particles and almost as good as possible against water intrusion. The only things with a higher water intrusion rating than electric cars are submersibles, buoys, and equipment that is underwater for long periods of time. That is how safe electric cars are in water.
Are There Instances When Driving In Water Isn’t Safe?
So, when is it not safe to drive an electric car through water? It is unsafe to drive your electric car through water when the water is deep or flowing very quickly. Each of these can cause you issues. Oftentimes, these two things will actually both be present. During flooding, you will likely have very deep fast-moving water.
Deep water can be dangerous for a couple of reasons. First off, you can’t see the bottom of the water before you go into it. This is dangerous for a couple of reasons. First off, you have no idea if there is anything in the water or what the road looks like under the water. It is possible that debris or large objects could be waiting at the bottom of the water.
You would have no idea until you either hit them or got stuck on them. Likewise, there could be holes in the road underneath the water. If you drive your car into them, you could submerge your car completely or just get stuck in it. That is why deep water is dangerous.
The other big risk is fast-moving water. Fast-moving water is incredibly powerful, even if it may not look like it. If it comes up against your car, it can easily spin your car around on you, or carry it downstream or off the road. This quickly becomes super dangerous for you as you are at the mercy of the water.
The Damages That Can Occur When You Drive In Deep Water
As we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of risks while driving in deep water. You can do a lot of damage to your car. The first big risk is water damage. Water can absolutely destroy the interior of your car if it gets inside. If your car was to get submerged, water absolutely will get in. The upholstery, seats, and electronics could all be ruined by water.
Secondly, if you were to hit anything in the water, you can damage the exterior of your car or even the powertrain. You never know what is in the water and it could severely damage your vehicle. You could need new body panels or to have components entirely replaced after driving over boulders or whatever else might be in the water.
Lastly, water really isn’t great for anything. While electric cars are extremely resilient against water intrusion, that doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong. Water can wreak havoc on electric components or cause mechanical parts to rust. While it’s not necessary to try to avoid water at all costs, driving through very deep water just sets you up to have issues pop up with things in the future.
Why Electric Cars Can Drive In Deeper Water Than Gas Cars
You may have wondered, how do electric cars driving through deep water compare to standard internal combustion cars. In fact, electric cars do much better than gas cars. This is for a couple of reasons.
First off, water might cause a short circuit. If you were to submerge the engine, you might start to experience short circuit problems. Your spark plugs, the distributor, or your more modern electronic ignition components can all short circuit. This will kill the engine as well.
With a regular car, an internal combustion engine relies on air in order to work. That means that the vehicle has to be able to suck air into the engine in order for it to work. If the intake on your vehicle becomes submerged, you can no longer get the air that you so desperately need, and your car will stall on you. This can be greatly improved by equipping your internal combustion vehicle with a snorkel. This is just a device that routes the actual air intake entrance much higher on the vehicle, generally close to the roof of the car.
But, electric cars operate on entirely different principles. As such, their fundamental design works much better in water. You simply have a battery supplying power to a motor or multiple motors. These motors are what turn the wheels. You don’t have to worry about inadequate amounts of air. It just doesn’t need air to work.
Also, as we previously mentioned, these cars are designed and made almost waterproof. They are built to withstand being in the water without letting it damage electrical components or get into places that it shouldn’t. Obviously, they aren’t 100% waterproof, and large amounts of water can still damage them, but the risk is much smaller than with a car that has an internal combustion engine. Another big advantage is that these cars offer peak torque even from a standstill. This can help while trying to get moving in deep water.