Flooded road with warning sign, with a car driving through a flooded road in the background

Can electric cars drive through floods?

Water and electricity famously don’t mix. Nor do cars and water. So what happens if you combine the two and try and put an electric car through water? Well, the answer may shock you… Read on to find out all you need to know about electric vehicles (EVs) reacting to flood water when compared with their internal combustion engine (ICE) predecessors.

If you’re looking to offload an old car due to flood damage, or are looking to get some cash to find something that’ll take on the waves a little better, then you’re in the right place. By using Scrap Car Comparison, you’re guaranteed to get the very best price for a knackered old set of wheels thanks to our nationwide network of scrap and salvage experts. On top of that, with collection agents operating across 99% of UK postcodes, you won’t even need to take it anywhere yourself, as we’ll collect it for you absolutely free of charge.

Electric car charging in the rain

Can you drive an electric car through a flood?

You shouldn’t drive any vehicle through significant flood water. It can only take six inches of water for you to lose control of your car, and if the water is moving, even the heaviest of vehicles can be swept away. On top of that, the AA recommends staying as far away from moving water as possible and to not even attempt to drive into water 10cm (4 inches) deep, so it’s simply not worth the risk. However, if you do find yourself in flood water, you’re likely to fare slightly better in an EV than you are in an ICE car.

Why is an electric car different to a fuel (ICE) car in floods?

Electric cars are slightly less susceptible to flood related trauma due to the fact they do not have the reliance on breathing in air like their dinosaur-burning cousins. These ICE cars are powered by the combustion of air and fuel, so if you drive a petrol or diesel-powered vehicle through deep water to the point that the liquid cascades in through your air intake, then chances are you’re going to end up hydrolocking your engine. Hydrolocking is as bad as it sounds, and at best you might only suffer some bent pistons. In any case, it’ll more than likely be lights out for your car.

Of course, while there’s no mechanical parts to worry about getting waterlogged, it’s worth bearing in mind the wading depth of your specific vehicle – which should be stated in your owner’s manual. While all of the major electrical components are waterproofed, adhering to strict regulations, you’ll still want to avoid going over these depths.

Is it true that electric vehicles can explode in flood water?

It may seem like water mixing with electricity should result in the usually expected combustion, but electric vehicles shouldn’t suffer the same fate as if you were to try and wash your toaster. Circuit breakers in your car are designed to trip if it gets submerged, reducing the likelihood of any fires or explosion. 

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and due to the nature of the incident and the likelihood of any videos or photos going viral on social media you may well see examples of electric cars catching fire in a flood – it’s worth noting that this is not a common occurrence, and it’s always best to try and avoid getting stranded in any case.

What should you do if your electric car gets flooded?

Like with any car, if you are stranded in flood water then you should try to get out as soon as possible. Of course opening the door (if you can with the pressure build) is going to likely wipe out your interior, but if it looks like there’s no way you’re getting out of the flood anytime soon, then it’s best to get yourself to safety. If you have managed to escape, you’ll have to wait for the water to subside before you can get back to it and see just what damage has been done.

How to drive an electric vehicle through flood water 

As above, you should always try to avoid driving through flood water if you can, no matter what type of fuel your car is using. If you do need to get through a flood, though, you should drive at a steady – and importantly consistent – pace. While there’s no worry about flooding an engine in an EV, you still want to avoid making the rear of your car light as this is where problems can occur – as was seen so often at the internet’s favourite flooded road, Rufford Ford.
If your EV has suffered from water damage and now is a very expensive buoy, then it’s probably time to look for ways to offload it. With Scrap Car Comparison, we don’t care how badly damaged or how old a car is, or what it’s powered by. All we want is to get you the very best price you can find. With buyers all around the country, we’ll scour the market local to you to get you an unbeatable quote, and we’ll even throw in free collection – get started today to see just how much your old car could be worth.

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