Electric cars and floods — not like peas and carrots
Sep 29, 2018 Ken Hanly
As of December 2016, the Nissan Leaf is the world's all-time best-selling
electric car with more than 250,000 units sold since 2010. Mic from Reading
- Berkshire, United Kingdom (CC BY 2.0)
Will I lose MORE Money on this Flood Tesla?
Repairing a Flooded Tesla Model S Part one
After Hurricane Florence dumped more than two feet of rain in parts of North
Carolina people may be wondering what happens to electric cars (EV) in
floods and afterwards. This is of particular concern to EV owners.
Flood damage to an electric car depends upon conditions
Different people gave different answers.
You Tube user Rich Rebuilds, rebuilt a Tesla Model S he bought for $14,000
that had been flooded by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey back in 2012. The
entire battery, motor, and all the drive electronics had been sitting in
salt water in the bottom 14 inches of the car. The model S was a total
Rich has a multi-part series of his trials and tribulations rebuilding the
car. He found he could not buy parts from Tesla and he also discovered that
the car was in salt water that would cause much more damage than fresh
water. Below I have appended the first part of his series.
When dismantling the car Rich found that after sitting in the salt water,
the battery pack was waterlogged. 12 of 16 modules in the pack were OK.
However, one of the four that were not, was so corroded that it began
exploding as Rich took it apart.
Rich did manage to finally rebuild the Tesla. A bear for punishment, he
undertook to repair another one but this one from fresh water and he had
less trouble as shown on the appended video. He made sure the fuse was
removed so that he would not be exposed to high voltage. Rich has a warning
on his videos not to try this at home but leave it to the experts. Do as he
says not as he does!
Jeff Wandell, the EV spokesperson for Nissan said that in their EV's the
high-voltage components such as the battery, traction motor, and inverter
are all waterproof claiming :"So no need to rebuild or replace the battery
One expert said that lithium is highly flammable. When it does catch fire it
produces great heat when exposed to water. However, battery cells are
usually sealed and water tight. However, it is larger packs and wiring that
can become waterlogged and damaged in some cars. Wiring harnesses and
electronic circuit boards can be corroded. Even if they work at first, their
lifespan can be significantly shortened. Beyond this, electric cars suffer
the same sorts of damages from a flood and water than any other car.
How to tell if a car is water damaged
If there has been water in the carpets, seats, seat belts, or other soft
parts, mold can develop. This can become a breathing hazard. Damage to cars
that have been in salt water is often much greater than in fresh water but
both are damaging.
When buying an EV that may have been subject to flood damage check the seat
tracks, also the head of hidden screws under the dash to see if there is
corrosion. Look under the carpets, and behind taillights for muddy residue
which are sure signs that the car has been submerged.
Special arrangements for EV's during hurricane Florence
The mass evacuations caused by Florence create special difficulties for
those with EVs, especially older models that have a relatively short range.
These may require several charges before they are out of danger of the huge
hurricane. Chargers on the way out of the area may become crowded and the
hurricane force winds and rains may make some of them inoperable.
Lanny Hartmann a Baltimore Maryland EV enthusiast devoted part of his EV
website, PluginSites.org to helping evacuees with EVs while the storm
lasted. His site included storm advisories, news reports, and reports of
places where evacuees could stay, as well as special information to help EV
One such piece of information was a notice from Tesla that said: "We are
temporarily enabling your car to access additional battery capacity, as well
as free Supercharging, in preparation for Hurricane Florence. We hope that
this gives you the peace of mind to get to a safe location, and will notify
you before returning your car to its original configuration in mid-October.
Badging on your display may adjust during this period. Safe travels!"
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Sep 28 2018
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