Automobile

A Realistic Look at How Future Electric Jeep Wranglers Could Drive Underwater

Floating is very different from fully submerging, though. Again, there are some electric vehicles—well, one I could find—that are actually built to run through water with their wheels on the ground. The FOMM One, which seems to be some sort of Thai Renault Twingo, originally announced itself as a swimming vehicle that could run through floods using its sealed cabin and electric drivetrain. However, the company website seems to have downgraded that to short periods of floating, much like a Model S may or may not be able to do without anything disastrous happening. 

Either way, one of the problems is actually that vehicles can and do float as their cabins stay full with air. Regular car doors do not stop water coming in after a certain point, so you’d need to fit submersible-style heavy hatch doors, with much stronger glass to withstand water pressure.

Arguably, given EVs are very heavy, it’s possible you could put such a weighty battery in the bottom of a Wrangler and it could counter the car’s displacement. That’s a physics nightmare for the suspension, though, and realistically, it’s more that you’ll need to flood your frunk and trunk, like a submarine’s buoyancy tanks. The F-150 Lightning‘s Mega Power Frunk already has a drain built into it which arguably—look, do not drive your Lightning into a lake, please—would work well to pull the plug when you surfaced.

That might get the Wrangler to the bottom but then you’ve got a wholly different problem, which is that aside from at really crazy depths in the Abyssal Plain, the base of rivers or lakes tends to be pretty rough and covered in debris. Which I guess is why you’re taking a Wrangler down there, not the EQS, but is also why submarines tend to, y’know, float to avoid all that crap.

Some little vehicles do run on the base of flooded places like, uh, sewage pipes, and they are worth having a look at for being uncannily cute but y’know, again, it’s not the best way of getting around. On the other hand, the sea level is rising so as the Jonas Brothers sang, not much has changed but man-made climate change sure has made getting around a lot more interesting. 

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