Tesla CEO Elon Musk definitely has a thing about cars that turn into boats. In 2013, he bought James Bond's submarine car (a custom Lotus Esprit) and said he planned to upgrade it with one of his electric powertrains. Then, Last year, Tesla Model S owners discovered an Easter egg in the car's software which turned its image into that same submersible Lotus. Now, Musk has said that the Model S does actually float "well enough to turn it into a boat," with the rotation of its wheels providing thrust in the water.
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
Musk tweeted the comment this weekend after sharing a link to a video showing a Model S "swimming" through a flooded tunnel in Kazakhstan. It's not clear in the clip (below) whether or not the car actually floats in the way that Musk describes, but it certainly makes better headway than vehicles stranded in the same tunnel, pushing through the water with relative ease and making it to dry land on the other side.
Musk later noted that the drive unit and battery on the Model S are all "sealed" to keep out liquids. But still, no one would ever recommend driving your car — electric or otherwise — through a large body of water. The possibility of faults and complications aside, most car warranties (including Tesla's, says Electrek) don't cover this sort of damage.
That might not be a problem for Musk though. The billionaire and entrepreneur later tweeted to fans interested in the fate of the Bond car he purchased that he's "still planning to do a sports sub car that can drive on roads." However, this doesn't mean Tesla fans can look forward to a Tesla Model Submersible: Musk makes it clear this would just be a "side project" due to "limited market potential."
If curious abt TSWLM car, am still planning to do a sports sub car that can drive on roads. Just a side project. Limited market potential :)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2016
Well, he says that now, but if electric cars don't take off and climate change floods half the planet, maybe submersible cars will become common after all. How about that for a bright side to global warming.