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Safety mode when driving through standing water

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
6,294
8,378
WPB Florida
Two comments.
First, I read somewhere that Tesla really had to jump through hoops to get their battery packs to a safe standard that allowed them to be shipped and the like (without hazardous handling). I suspect this protection feature is part of that overall concept as the pack can source a lot more current shorted than when in normal operation and that amount of current would be very dangerous. I can accept that this is programmed behavior.

Second, try lifting with lateral load on the car and you will understand one circumstance where shifting into neutral is not a good idea. Finding a lot of water while corner loading the car is highly unlikely and thus should not be a concern.
 
A good idea--hopefully it gets incorporated into a future firmware release.

i think one of the settings pages should contain an error message log, so that you can easily view the last month or whatever's error messages after they've disappeared from the screen. perhaps even with hyperlinks to manual pages that explain what the error means and probable causes, etc.....
 
I don't expect mil-spec on a Tesla (although geez would be nice) but I would seriously think reconsidering my model X reservation if I knew a foot of water would brick it.
This thread seems to have elevated its tempo so I'll de-escalate my comment before it becomes ammo for others: I understand the current behavior is not 'bricking'; on the other hand the car going into neutral like that is too much of a control statement by the software which does NOT respect driver intent. If I see a truck approaching behind me too fast and my intent is to drive forward the car SHOULD obey me and do so even if it ruins it (as long as it doesn't harm the driver). It's not about insurance or 'oh well I got rear-ended' here. It is about the driver intent and expectations. And no amount of RTFM can be waved when someone is driving a car and may decide they want to push forward in water for their own safety.

The three laws of robotics, which some may call naive, give you an idea of human's expectations of machines with complex software.
 
Of possible interest... here's some video footage of the Nissan LEAF undergoing testing — including driving through deep standing water:
Nissan LEAF Test Drive - YouTube

Nice find. That Leaf forded 300 mm of water, which is 11.8" Very relevant to this thread.

Given that you'd never encounter close to that deep of water on the highway, yet there have been several reports of the Model S glitching in those conditions, I'd say there is a problem, plain and simple.
 

GSP

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 28, 2007
2,660
1,019
IMHO .... Anyone driving thru water "a foot deep" knowingly is negligent. Not Tesla or the car.

Are we going to blame Tesla if a parking stop cracks the lower plastic because the driver pulled in too far?
Is it Teslas fault if your car is damaged by hail?

We (collectively as a people) need to take some personal responsibility and not blame others for our mishaps.

I am calling BS on this. Real cars driving on real roads have to drive through water now and then. I HAD to drive my new Volt through about a foot of water, and I do not accept being called negligent or irresponsible for doing so (maybe other stuff, but not this). Parking my car in the middle of three lanes of interstate would have been irresponsible.

This is why all automakers require their cars to pass fording tests.

GSP

- - - Updated - - -

Nice find. That Leaf forded 300 mm of water, which is 11.8" Very relevant to this thread.

Given that you'd never encounter close to that deep of water on the highway, yet there have been several reports of the Model S glitching in those conditions, I'd say there is a problem, plain and simple.

I did encounter those exact conditions on a "highway." It was a limited access interstate highway, three lane wide in each direction, circling a major US city. It was under construction (improvement) at the time.

GSP
 

Beavis

Model S Signature 991
Dec 24, 2011
697
19
Colorful Colorado
When traveling at speed, isn't the floor of the car less than 6" off the ground and isn't that where the battery pack is? There are plenty of people on this forum who know more about this car than I do but I would think Tesla needs to put every safety feature possible into making sure the battery pack stays dry. Personally, I trust the engineers who designed it. Everyone is right, though. This should be in the manual.
 

GSP

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 28, 2007
2,660
1,019
ICE vehicles don't do that when driving down the highway in the rain. What is the car protecting itself from, since it was able to continue on its way, do other ICE's on the same road need to protect themselves? This is obviously a glitch, maybe the car is just being "over" protective, but it's not welcome behavior.

I completely agree. My Volt did not require me to reselect drive, allowing me to concentrate on driving and maintaing my momentum to slowly but surely get through the water.

GSP
 
When traveling at speed, isn't the floor of the car less than 6" off the ground and isn't that where the battery pack is? There are plenty of people on this forum who know more about this car than I do but I would think Tesla needs to put every safety feature possible into making sure the battery pack stays dry. Personally, I trust the engineers who designed it. Everyone is right, though. This should be in the manual.

This is not a feature, and I don't think anyone here should accept it as such. The Nissan Leaf has no more ground clearance than the Model S and the Leaf has its battery back down along the floor, too. Yet it's able to ford nearly a foot of water - a typical proving depth for cars - and evidently some Model S's can't handle even half that.

I'm holding out hope this is an isolated incident, something that only affects a small number of cars, or if it's wider spread something that Tesla can readily fix. Again, I implore anyone that experienced this issue to contact Tesla service and report it, ideally with the day and time so they can check logs.

Nissan Leaf battery pack location:
Nissan_Leaf_undercarriage.jpg
 
This is not acceptable. If the Leaf, Prius, and Volt can drive through a foot of water without issue then the Model S should be able to also. If driving through 6" of water causes the car computers to reboot and forces the car into neutral then that is just dangerous and lame. If that is by design and is, in fact, the intended functioning then some people at Tesla have a few screws loose.
We're not asking the Model S to be as capable as a Hummer, but it certainly shouldn't be any worse than a Leaf/Prius/Volt.
This issue won't be a problem for me personally, but Tesla is going to sell this car all over the world.
The Leaf test is at low speed. The "neutralizing" incident happened at highway speed. Different scenarios; the highway event could have turned nasty much faster. The shift returned the car to safe "fording" speed, at the very least.
 

dpeilow

Well-Known Member
Moderator
May 23, 2008
9,165
942
Winchester, UK
I am calling BS on this. Real cars driving on real roads have to drive through water now and then. I HAD to drive my new Volt through about a foot of water, and I do not accept being called negligent or irresponsible for doing so (maybe other stuff, but not this). Parking my car in the middle of three lanes of interstate would have been irresponsible.

This is why all automakers require their cars to pass fording tests.

GSP

- - - Updated - - -



I did encounter those exact conditions on a "highway." It was a limited access interstate highway, three lane wide in each direction, circling a major US city. It was under construction (improvement) at the time.

GSP

I've had exactly the same with the Ampera more than once. Crazy rain in the past few weeks. Never seen a flooded motorway before but it was over three quarters up the wheels of the car in front. It just got on with it.
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
6,294
8,378
WPB Florida
I was scolded for bringing this issue up in another thread. I now understand why.

A very few cars have glitched.

The glitch is a momentary "reset" of sorts consisting (some or all) of an error message, lights flickering and a switch to neutral.

Tesla (through a forum moderator) has indicated this is part of the submersion protection. Submersion protection is required for a high voltage low impedance current source (big honking welder of a battery) thus it is perfectly reasonable.

The car can be switched back into drive directly following the MOMENTARY glitch thus it is completely functional.

The sequence is not documented.

NO cars are dying or bricking.

The above are very simple facts as the issue stands today. Please do not go around the bend on this and make a tornado in a tea cup. At the same time, let's continue to list separate incidents so that everyone can be aware of them. By the same token, let's list times where the cars have traversed water just fine so that we might better understand what exactly drives the issue.

Again, known acceptable behavior without dramatic impact on driving dynamics.
 
This incident has happened twice. Once during a test drive at highway speeds, and once going very slowly through shallow standing water (by me).

There are no flashing lights, no error message, no nothing. At least not when it happen to me. Just a single beep and the car switched to neutral.

Nigel found out this a security feature. Mystery solved. Thanks Nigel!
 

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