Which would fair better in a natural disaster, your Model S or your previous car?

Which would fair better in a natural disaster, your Model S or your previous car?

Hurricane Harvey got me wondering-

Electric grid outages..
Gas shortages...
overheating during evacuation gridlock... navigating flooded streets...
Drowning engines...

ICE versus EV- Do we have any strong evidence which would serve us better or would be more resilient to extreme circumstances?

tes-s | 31. August 2017

I'd put my money on my MS, though no strong evidence.

One advantage would be preparation - no need to go out to the gas station and wait in line with the other people getting prepared, and litlte chance the grid would be out of electricity.

Sitting in traffic uses less "fuel" than an idling ICE. Could turn off AC if really concerned, but not going to overheat.

250 miles is enough range to get out of harms way even if could not find a charger.

Flooded streets - not sure. I've seen differing reports, and I hope I never have to find out for myself.

david | 31. August 2017

Let me vote for neither.
As a "prepper", no doubt an ice vehicle.
I keep 40 gallons of gas on hand at all times for my cars and my generator.
I put my bug out bag in my frunk.... perfect for it

By definition, the grid is down in any real natural disaster

SO | 31. August 2017

Not too many people keep 40 gallons of gas lying around.

tes-s | 31. August 2017

ok - I was thinking of fake natural disasters along the lines of Harvey, Katrina, etc.

SO | 31. August 2017

Other than a few people stocking extra gas, most of these people would be better off with an EV provided they have electricity.

rxlawdude | 31. August 2017

Um, when the grid is down, guess what can't get pumped into fuel tanks of ICE vehicles?

Lbkp100d | 31. August 2017


MS_Hapi | 31. August 2017

I know hubby and I could sleep in ours if we had to.

compchat | 31. August 2017

The question is, whether or not, a model S could drive through standing water and not short circuit or simply stop working ?

ulrichard | 01. September 2017

Given enough solar panels in the trunk, and enough food in the frunk, you can get almost everywhere ;-)

Anthony J. Parisio | 01. September 2017

Both would be bad but the slower you go in a Tesla the further you go. So in stop and go exodus EV goes further than ICE.

KP in NPT | 01. September 2017

It depends on the type of disaster - if you have solar and powerwall on a house that's still standing and not flooded you'd be good. ;)

I saw 2 postings today on Facebook about people's Teslas flooded in Texas. One pic of it literally floating in the garage. (That was weird.) those probably didn't do too well - but neither would an ICE car.

david | 01. September 2017

It depends where you live, in Westchester County NY the only repercussion we face is a loss of power. That has happened several times, the longest being almost one full week.
Hence for me ice over ev and why I stock 40 gallons of gas at all times with the capacity to increase that on short notice .
Also, having lived through a not natural disaster up close and very personally,,,, 9/11 - I carry a bug out bag in my car .
Ultimately it is a combination of where you are and your level or desire to be prepared .

Lush1 | 01. September 2017

A charged EV won't overheat, uses no fuel if AC is off, and not much juice if you want run it to stay cool, within reason. A Tesla can sleep several people more comfortably than a similarly sized ICE, etc. But recharging? Depends on how far you have to go to find electricity in a storm zone. Can't carry a jerry can full of electrons, so that might auger in favor of the ICE, IF you are prepared and carry gas. In terms of standing water, I wouldn't try it in any car. It's not the vulnerability of the drive line, it's getting swept away by a few inches of moving water. No winner there. Maybe an original VW Beetle. Like the ads in the 60's picturing a floating Bug said "It definitely floats, but not indefinitely." Just joking with the other old folks that remember the 60s. Don't drive ANY car through water, even if it is waterproof. I don't see a clear winner here. I tend toward a Tesla, but it's really too close to call. I have never had to put either type of car to that test and don't like the chances in either. Now where is that electric helicopter Iron Man had on the drawing board? THAT would be the ideal bug-out solution. Of course, any helicopter is a better bet than a car but back to reality. How about a Model X towing a small power boat? I think that wins by a nose, but it's just speculation.

SamO | 01. September 2017

Model S floats and can be used as a boat:

"There’s a common misconception that electric vehicles don’t like water any more than gas guzzlers, but apparently that isn’t true. It turns out if you find yourself flooded, a Tesla Model S can float and effectively drive on water."

Leave it to compchat to find the stupidest FUDiest response.

tes-s | 01. September 2017

2003 is the only grid outage I am aware of, and that was not caused by a natural disaster. It lasted a day or two for most people, and gasoline was not available either - gas stations with backup power ran out of gas very quickly.

Thanks for the info @SamO. I know ICE are leaking all sorts of oil and gasoline into the environment as they sit underwater. I was concerned that the lithium batteries in Teslas and other EVs would catch fire, but I have not seen one case of that happening. | 01. September 2017

No car except maybe a combat-ready jeep should be driven in water up to the axles. Hurricanes generally give you lots of warning. If you live in a robust, wind proofed house on high ground, you can charge to 100% and use the car as a shelter, sleeping in air conditioned comfort for several days, perhaps until power is restored. Otherwise, evacuate. Driving out of danger in a BEV or hybrid is best. No overheating, once traffic thins, you could be several humdred miles away in a day.

EVRider | 01. September 2017

If you're stuck on the road in a snowstorm, you can stay warm in a Model S without worrying about carbon monoxide poisoning. Not that I worry about that, since I live in FL...

SO | 01. September 2017

@compchat - there are YouTube videos of a Model S driving through deep water ( splashing over the hood) while passing stalled ICE vehicles. (Not that I'd recommend it. And I certainly wouldn't want the interior getting wrecked.

sklancha | 01. September 2017

@Samo-On. I've seen that Tesla-turned-boat video before. Pretty clear advantage the Model S had over the ICE stalling out around it. Would be interesting yo know how long the S can be driven with control while floating... not with MY car though.

I've been in a couple long (3-6 hour) massive gridlock's (not during evacuations, though), and once we went over the 2+ hour time line of gridlock, there are guaranteed cars that end up on the berm out of gas or overheating. For an evacuation, I am confident I would rather be in my Tesla.
In the event that there are some power outages, we can get juice from any source in areas that the grid is up, or from a kind neighbor with battery backup. Also easier to make sure we have a full tank when prepping for a storm, though not all natural disasters give that much warning.

Of course I would never encourage anybody to drive through flooded streets, I admit it is sometimes unavoidable when you live in coastal regions that can get flash flooding of the streets. But sometimes drastic times calls for drastic measures.

I don't know how watertight the Tesla electrical system is, so kind of curious whether the 'floating Tesla' in Harveys wake, was able to start or drive when the water receded. What part of the Tesla is the most vulnerable to flood damage?

revrev4ruach | 01. September 2017

sklancha | September 1, 2017

. . . What part of the Tesla is the most vulnerable to flood damage?

Answer: The trunk! I drove through high water too fast a few months ago and ripped the fasteners off the undercarriage requiring a SvC repair. But the bigger expense was replacement of the wet and mildewed trunk carpet and trunk insulation. I did not realize that there is a vent in the left side bottom of the trunk that will allow water into the lower recessed trunk if you drive through high water and soak whatever is stored in there.

Lesson 1: Never drive through high water unless forced to do so.
Lesson 2: If forced, always check the trunk for flood water and dry out the carpet and insulation immediately.

sklancha | 01. September 2017

@revrev4ruach. Ouch. How deep was the water? Was the damage because of the speed you chose to blow through that water? I hit an area of flooded street, just at the last half block near the entrance of the hospital I work at about a year ago. I was driving slow while trying to figure out (in my ignorance) why there were a bunch of cars pulled to the side (flooding and drowning). I didn't get any water in my car, but started to get real nervous about the cars well being when the hospitals electric transport vehicle from the garage to the hospitAL stalled out from the high water in the street. He said the batteries don't handle getting wet to well. No problems leaving and no water in the trunk or seeping through the sides of the doors.

barrykmd | 01. September 2017

Articles online about San Antonio running out of gas and long lines elsewhere in TX. I noted gas is up about 30 cents/gal this morning compared w/yesterday.

EVRider - Here in Colorado, we don't have to worry about humidity poisoning :-)

thranx | 01. September 2017

Land Rover doors are triple sealed to prevent water entry, the air vent for the engine is mounted high up, and you can always add a snorkel...a common sight on SUV's and trucks in Australia and elsewhere. Can easily handle two feet and more of water depth. needs that darned gasoline.

I look forward to an enthusiast sealing up a model X against water entry and then seeing what the modified vehicle can handle.

revrev4ruach | 01. September 2017

@sklancha. The damage to the undercarriage fasteners was definitely due to too much speed. I estimate the water was about a foot to 18 inches at the most for about a block or two. I'll never know for sure, but I think ripping the fasteners off caused the plastic panels behind the rear wheels to separate from the undercarriage and catch the water as I drove, creating a bigger pathway for the water to flow through the vent into the trunk and spread throughout the lower trunk area. Some seepage would have occurred anyway though, I think.

sklancha | 01. September 2017

@Barry kind. Not to change the subject, but your comments made me wonder if the electric grid itself is more or less vulnerable to natural disaster when it is fossil fuel versus renewables. Vulnerable to damage and/or difficulty in repairing/getting back on line if damaged.

Harvey could have just as easily hit my part of the Gulf Coast. My beach town varies from 3 to 7 feet above sea level, so I'm sure my little town would have been decimated. Even a heavy tropical storm can put a foot or two of water on the streets for a couple hours or days.just makes me wonder.

Pungoteague_Dave | 01. September 2017

In a natural disaster of any kind, our Tesla, Porsche, even standard pick-up trucks would stay parked inside in all cases. We keep 250 galloons of diesel and 500 gallons of treated nonethanol gas on hand in underground tanks, and our choice when water is high (often 6 inches on the ground in tidewater Virginia after heavy rain), is our F350 Superduty diesel with over 800 miles range. That truck can get to high land from anywhere, and can go through the deepest water that any normal road vehicle can handle. The Tesla, not so much. High centered on only about 5 inches of snow, had to be towed despite being a D. These are not great vehicles for extremely bad road conditions.

Half Dollar Bill | 01. September 2017

Not that the zombie apocalypse is a disaster but one of the more recent complaints on the AMC show is a wonder how people are still driving gasoline powered vehicles when the gas would supposedly go bad after a few months. In that specific scenario I'd posit that an electric car would be the vehicle of choice since it could be recharged from panels. So bring on the zombies!

SamO | 01. September 2017

Re: Walking Dead . . . 300,000,000 gas cars with partial tanks is a lots of siphoning for the survivors.

sklancha | 01. September 2017

So, in light or moderate floods, evacuation, and a zombie apocalypse- Mosel S is better... Good to be getting the list organized now.

barrykmd | 01. September 2017

Half Dollar Bill - You're trying to scientifically explain why the gas would be stale, but no comment about the zombies? :-)

NKYTA | 01. September 2017

The zombies are stale?!?

tes-s | 06. September 2017

Good luck to all our friends in PR and FL.

TV is showing long lines at gas stations and many gas stations with no gas. My guess is no line at the home charger and plenty of supply.

revrev4ruach | 06. September 2017

Let's hope the power stays on and the gas holds out long enough for all to evacuate from Florida. I feel for the people of Puerto Rico and all other islands in the path of Irma. God be with them.

Hot_Rod | 06. September 2017

The electrical grid is so much more reliable! No price gouging...highly regulated by the authorities. There is a lot of redundancy built into the system. Meanwhile, gasoline is subject to production, politics, refinery, delivery and still dependent on the electrical grid.

PBEndo | 06. September 2017

I have 2 Model S' in my garage. Batteries will be max charged. Air mattresses will be in the back. Frunk of one full of water, frunk of the other full of beer. If the roof of the house starts to come off, we will be in the cars with the AC running, and the radio on.

JayInJapan | 06. September 2017

We had two major earthquakes last year. The wife and I spent 4 nights in the car in the driveway because we couldn't sleep in the house with all the aftershocks (3,000+ of those in a year). Car was a perfect shelter for us--temperature controlled and charging for our phones.

KP in NPT | 06. September 2017

PBE and Jay +1000 that's awesome!

tes-s | 07. September 2017

Fuel shortages continue in Florida - can't get the fuel from storage to the gas stations fast enough.

SO | 07. September 2017

Hopefully people in potential flood zones can put their vehicles up on blocks.

david | 07. September 2017

Not fun watching a second major natural disaster run its course in such a short period of time.
Most important is supporting those that need our help.

What it boils down to first and foremost is being prepared. If makes NO difference if you are driving an ICE or EV if you are not prepared. So the best answer is which ever one brings along with the most prepared person to maximize its potential.

If all things are equal, the next parameter is whether or not your natural disaster is an immediate one that is unexpected vs. one that can be identified before exerting its untoward influences on your environment.

For the immediate one that you cannot plan for such as an earthquake or terror event (EMP), I would opt for my ICE over my EV to get me to my secondary location - vacation house about 110 miles from my primary residence. That is what I am currently set up for.

For one that you can plan for and need to create distance between yourself/family and it such as a hurricane, ICE would also be my preference at this stage. Perhaps with a more mature EV infrastructure in place in a number of years and greater battery range, and quicker charging times that might change my approach then.

Again, my prayers and thoughts and efforts are with those in or recently through harms way.

Best to all,

carlk | 07. September 2017

Natural disasters do fair better with ICE cars though. The continuous feeding of CO2 just makes them all that stronger.

tes-s | 07. September 2017

My plan is still to park my ICE vehicles in the lowest place I can find, hoping for high water, and drive away in my MS.