Tesla Model 3 ‘swims’ in China amid ongoing floods

Since June, China has been inundated with heavy torrential rains causing flooding of multiple towns across the country. The rains have been so heavy that even the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world, is being put to a grueling test. With the country facing its worst flooding since 1998, some cities could end up flooded with just a few hours of rain.

Such an incident happened at the end of July, with the city of Xian getting its streets submerged after just about an hour of rain. A clip from the recent flooding was posted online, and it included a good view of the city’s roads being completely flooded. Quite surprisingly, it also included a Tesla Model 3 bravely taking on the deep floodwaters in stride. 

The video was brief but it does demonstrate the all-electric sedan had no flood problems. The vehicle simply waded through until it reached a section of the road with shallower waters. Other vehicles such as motorbikes traveling in similar areas also looked almost like jet skis due to the depth of the flood.

Many reports from China have appeared describing similar feats from Tesla’s most affordable sedan. One such video showed a white Model 3 that was literally floating as it was halfway submerged, and the car seemed to have no trouble navigating through the mud. People in the background, some of whom seemed to be surprised at the vehicle, could be heard saying that the car was a Tesla. 

Although the videos may be a bit stressful to avid EV enthusiasts, it should be noted that Tesla has made some notable preparations for the locally developed Model 3 which may have contributed to the success of the vehicle in submerged streets. Back in November, sightings of Model 3 around the Gigafactory Shanghai complex were abounding, and it became evident that the vehicles were first production units made in the facility itself.

One such sighting involved a blue Made-in-China Model 3 that was reportedly under flood testing. The short video shows a Model 3 driving through a part of the Gigafactory Shanghai complex which was intentionally flooded. Tesla China did not provide additional details about the video, but speculations from the local EV community indicated that the electric car maker should ensure that its local Model 3 would be flood resistant.

Based on the recent videos from China, it appears that when faced with floodwaters the Model 3 is quite robust. It bodes well for Tesla’s growth in China, as floods are very frequent in the country and neighboring Southeast Asian areas due to the numerous typhoons that strike the area every year. A flood-resistant, reasonably-priced Tesla vehicle could very well draw a large customer base amid China’s drive for electric cars.

The latest rainy season and floods in China have affected 55 million people in 27 of 31 provinces in the country so far. As of July 28, the country’s Ministry of Emergency Management has identified at least 158 people as dead or missing. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, direct economic losses were estimated at around 144 billion yuan (around $20.6 billion), which is 14 percent higher than the five-year average of the nation. That being said, Hong Kong’s Pictet Wealth Management still expects China’s growth forecast to be about 1.8 percent by 2020, thanks to a possible “strong rebound” in industrial activity.

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