How Deep In Water Can An Electric Car Go?

Electric cars and water? Surely this can’t be a compatible relationship, right? Wrong. It’s quite easy to fall for this myth since we’ve been taught that water and electricity never go together. However, the truth is that electric cars can actually drive quite effectively in water. This, however, begs another question: what are the water limits for my electric car?

Some electric cars can go about 3 feet deep in water, much more than any conventional ICE vehicle. Deep water adventures are aided by the EV’s battery pack which is well protected by sealants that are incredibly effective at blocking water. 

Although EVs perform better in water than traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles, you should still avoid taking them into flooded water. Want to learn why? Read on more since we’ll be explaining how EVs perform at different water levels and what are the risks associated with taking your EV in flooded water. 

What Makes EVs Better In Water Than ICE Vehicles

We’ve already established that EVs are safer in water than internal combustion engine (ICEOpens in a new tab.) vehicles, but why do EVs perform better? Let’s find out! 

Performance Of Electric Vehicles 

All the electrical parts inside an EV are required to pass through an IP ratingOpens in a new tab.. An IP rating assesses how effectively specific components block foreign elements, such as water and dust. 

An EV’s battery usually has an IP66 classification, which means it is entirely resistant to dust and high-pressure water. Similarly, an EV’s electric motor and controller are also rated higher than IP66, ensuring their durability in all sorts of terrains. On top of that, all these components are encased in a protective covering, doubling the safety. 

Here’s a rating comparison between IP65 and IP66 so you know the limits of your electric vehicle: 

IP65 RatingIP66 Rating
Water-resistant against powerful jetsWater resistant against powerful jets
Not suitable for extreme weather conditionsSuitable for extreme weather conditions

Plus, even if the protective cover erodes with time, an EV still has a functioning safety mechanism that will cut off all power to the vehicle once it finds itself too deep in water. This cutoff mechanism safeguards the high-voltage battery pack and other critical electrical components, saving you from expensive repairs. 

ICE Vehicle Performance

Why are ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles more prone to water damage than their electric counterparts? The answer’s simple; they don’t have any protection to prevent water from seeping into their engine. 

Traditional vehicles also often host an air intake duct at the rear end which can potentially allow water to enter the car’s engine and cost some expensive visits to your car’s mechanic. 

Driving An EV Through Puddles

You’ll occasionally find yourself traversing through puddles on the road after a rainy spell. However, there’s no need to be concerned about water from puddles splashing onto your vehicle’s electronic components. 

Since all EV electrical components in your EV are well-sealed against rainy conditions, the chances of puddle water finding a way to short-circuit the electrical components are minimal.

Driving An EV Through A Car Wash

While it sounds scary for a new EV owner, taking your vehicle through a car wash won’t do any harm. With electric components reinforced with sealants and tightly packed in a protective covering, it’s pretty hard for any water to seep through and short-circuit the vehicle. 

Plus, EV manufacturers carry out extensive testing to guarantee that the sealants are waterproof and that the electric components can tolerate water exposure to some degree. EV producers also deliberately test the car in wet areas to ensure the sealant and battery packs stand their ground. 

On top of it all, EVs are even soak-tested, which means they’ve been subjected to high-pressure water to make sure they can withstand water from high-pressure pipes as well. 

Driving An EV Through A Flood

Although EVs have no air intake nor require gas to operate, there are still occasions when they are just as susceptible to significant water damage as a traditional ICE vehicle, especially if you drive them through floods.

Despite many preventive measures in place, you still cannot drive an EV through floods without increasing the risk of damaging your vehicle or the passengers.

How A Flood Damages An Electric Vehicle

Floods can be pretty dangerous for your electric vehicle since they can damage your car’s components beyond repair. Surprisingly, despite all the protection, EVs are more dangerous to take out during a flood than normal ICE vehicles. 

This is owed to the high electrical production of an EV as compared to a normal ride, which can severely electrocute you once the electrical components are exposed to water.

In short, although EVs can get further through floods than a standard vehicle, they also represent a greater danger to drivers and passengers. Therefore, it’s recommended to try to avoid driving your EV through water that rises above half the height of the tires. 


Q) What Happens When An EV’s Battery Gets Wet?

Although the sealants covering the battery pack are water-resistant, water can still penetrate through them, especially during a flood. When that happens, multiple safety systems inside the EV kick in, and the electrical supply to high-voltage parts is powered off to prevent a short circuit.

Q) Which EV Performs The Best In Floods?

The performance in flood has a lot to do with an EV’s wading depth. The latest Land Rover Defender has the highest wading depth among all EVs at 900mm (with air suspension), closely followed by Ford Ranger at 800mm. 

Q) Can I Drive A Tesla Through A Flood?

Although Tesla is renowned for its swimming abilities, it’s still a bad idea to drive it through a flood. There are always dangers associated with driving through a flood, and you should avoid it whenever you can. 


Nearly all electric vehicles meet the internal water ingress requirements and are packed with numerous safety measures to reduce the possibility of an electrical short circuit. However, flood water is where an EV reaches its limits, resulting in dire consequences for the car and the passengers.

Apart from that, there’s really no drawback to going green with an EV.

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