Noah has nothing on us…

Now here is something that you don’t think about: Yesterday the Detroit area got hit with some freakishly huge rain amounts–enough that many area freeways had to close.
Flooded Detroit freeway

(Image from the above linked article)

On my commute home I drove through some areas that were easily 1 foot deep. Take a second to think about this: An ICE car requires air to burn the gasoline (or Diesel). This is the reason so many cars stall out in floods: The engine ingests water which causes significant damage and stalls out the car. On the other hand, an EV doesn’t burn anything at all–its just some wires connected between the battery and the motor (simplifying a bit). All of that is sealed so that the car can also drive down wet roads, get washed, etc. As a consequence of this an EV is less likely to get stalled out on a flooded road.

My drive through 12″ of water yesterday pales a bit from my coworker’s experience from yesterday. His part of the area flooded to a much greater extent. When he was trying to avoid a flooded intersection by driving through a parking lot he found out that it was worse: at least 18″ deep, he could see the water level just below his window edge and below his rear view mirror. As he continued to navigate the parking lot the traction control warning light started flashing as his car was beginning to float a little. All this time the interior remained dry with no water incursion. Passing by a stalled out SUV he continued on his way and exited the parking lot no worse for the wear except for a new waterline mark to be washed off on a ┬ásunnier day.

You may be thinking here, though, that since an EV uses electricity there is a big chance to get shocked, or worse from this.  The thing is you have to be able to drive the EV anywhere that you can drive an ICE car through. This means that the car needs to be sealed up against weather (rain, snow, sleet, puddles, etc.). Since the FFE is the first production EV Ford has produced it is probably over engineered and thus more sealed up than it needs to be.

Now I’m not advocating everyone with an EV to run out and find the deepest creek to forage. Its still a car and it still can get washed away with as little as 6″ of water. The thing here is, though, an EV may not suffer nearly as much damage as an ICE car if it gets stuck in some abnormal flooding.

One Thought on “Noah has nothing on us…

  1. I agree that the under-hood sealing of the power and drivetrain components is probably very good against rain and splashed water. The risk of shock isn’t very high because you’re not going to come into contact with the current flow path, but I would definitely worry about water damage to components or an internal short circuit. The FFE warranty specifically says it doesn’t cover damage caused by driving through high water.

    Salt water is a different case, because it’s more conductive. If you remember one of the final nails in Fisker’s coffin was the destruction of a dozen Karmas that were sitting (uninsured) on a loading dock in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy. The saltwater shorted out their high voltage systems, starting fires that burned the cars to ashes.

Post Navigation