Effect of moisture on Battery

Effect of moisture on Battery

I recall reading something to the effect that Tesla did not recommend taking the Model S through a car wash because the battery was the bottom of the car and could be damaged by moisture. Can anyone confirm this? Also, is the battery jeopardized by riding through a puddle?

richard_lawson | 2012年5月21日

I doubt they could market the Model S as a main stream car if it could not drive it through a puddle. I call B.S.

Jason S | 2012年5月21日

The car wash idea was supposed to be related to the water based paint being too soft or something. A roadster thing. Tho I'd imagine that's an issue with the Lotus base car (Elise) for the Roadsters.

The whole concept of the battery pack water problems ... that's a new one on me and extremely unlikely. Pretty sure that's just random FUD given the fog and whatnot I'm seeing around the vehicles in the bay area. No way a water issue would go undetected there.

ddruz | 2012年5月21日

I specifically asked about running Model S through a car wash when I visited the Menlo Park store a few weeks ago and was assured it would be OK.

Mark E | 2012年5月21日

Personally, I won't drive any car I own through an automated car wash. The damage that they can do to the paint after repeated washes is enough discouragement.

Besides, I'd rather wash the car myself and get some exercise doing something useful than go to a gym!

mwu | 2012年5月22日

I'm sure that the battery pack got plenty wet during their winter testing for which they have a blog about. The wheels and tires would be flinging enough of it around to reach the pack in good quantity. Also the pack itself should get warm (they do water cool it after all) enough to cause some melting of the snow and ice itself. I'd say that would be a pretty rugged test of the battery pack under the car and I'd bet that they've also done other more targeted durability testing of the pack. If there were issues, I'm sure they have discovered and resolved them.

Sudre_ | 2012年5月22日

I usually type out my responses to these silly questions and then not post them because they would probably sound really rude.

Sounds to me like MythBusters is going to have an entire year carved out testing BEV questions.

jerry3 | 2012年5月22日

I've driven the Prius in curb deep water and no problem. The Model S should really do better because you can raise the vehicle height.

Volker.Berlin | 2012年5月22日

Sounds to me like MythBusters is going to have an entire year carved out testing BEV questions. (Sudre)

+1 looking forward to it! :-)

Brian H | 2012年5月23日

Considering their motto, "Lets go blow some stuff up!", it could get messy ...

Timo | 2012年5月23日

No, it's "when in doubt, C4".

Of course they could compare which makes bigger fireworks, blowing up a charged Tesla battery or couple of gallon of gas. That should give people something to think about.

space09 | 2012年5月23日

@Peter: the battery component and all high voltage connections are sealed and water tight. However, Tesla suggests not fording rivers with the vehicle. :-)

All delicate components have sensors that indicate water ingress, and in that case, the car will do everything possible to protect itself and its occupants (e.g. you will not get shocked). If you have air suspension set to 'High', which is 1.3" above normal, you'd have a total ride height of 7.4"--any water above that could seep into the interior or other components which would not be good.

Where I live, high water can be a problem during heavy rains, but I'm going to strive not be the first person Tesla service asks "Who's the U-Boat Commander?"

Peter Spirgel | 2012年5月23日


Thanks! I thought I had read somewhere that the undercarrage spray at a car wash prompted Tesla to reccomend that the car not be sent through a car wash. That's what prompted me to start the thread. I guess I imagined this warning. Good news, as I'm too lazy to always wash my own car!

Rod and Barbara | 2012年5月23日

Peter, the following was posted in the Things I Will Miss About My Gas Car thread by MandL on May 3, 2012: "I stopped by the DC showroom yesterday and the store manager said the reason they don't recommend going through automatic car washes has nothing to do with the paint. They feel high pressure spraying of detergents and waxes on the underside of the car is an unwise thing to do in an electric car."

As you can see from your thread, ddruz got a different answer to the same question at the Menlo Park store. It seems to imply there isn't a clear corporate-wide position on this issue. Now that deliveries are only a month away, it will be interesting to see what the Model S owner's manual will say about automatic car washes.

Peter Spirgel | 2012年5月23日

Thanks Rod and Barbara! I thought I had seen something about this. I'd be interested if any other reservation holders have heard anything about this issue or perhaps Tesla (we know you're reading the forum pages) can clarify this issue?

jerry3 | 2012年5月23日

Although I never use anything other than the "quarter" car wash, I fail to see how the water and detergent in a power wash is any worse then the slush and salt on the road.

DallasTxModelS | 2012年5月23日

Ran this by my Tesla Product Specialist because I was told that there is a lot of misinformation on these forums and was sent the following:

A very large puddle is potentially dangerous (ie., if the water comes up to the middle of the wheels). Roadster had a canvas top, so it was not smart to take it through a car wash. Maintenance and Care Instructions will be released soon, detailing car wash recommendations.

stephen.kamichik | 2012年5月23日

Elon Musk was once on the David Letterman show. It was on that show that David Letterman demonstrated what happens when the battery gets wet.

DallasTxModelS | 2012年5月26日

Actually there was no water involved in the shocking joke. If you can take listening to David Letterman talk with a terrible sore throat it is a very interesting 10 min interview of Elon Musk about the history of the EV and Tesla Roadster ending with the White Model S Beta being driven out on the set.

stephen.kamichik | 2012年5月26日

Yes, I know there was no water involved. I am glad you enjoyed the video.