Since childhood, we have been taught that we should not mix water and electricity together. So, it is normal for a person to be curious about what would happen if their electric car got wet.
What Happens if an Electric Car Gets Wet?
If one buys a brand-new electric vehicle (EV) and is scared as to what will happen if their car goes through a puddle or they want to get their car washed, they have nothing to worry about as the car will not electrocute them.
If a vehicle is submerged in water and some of the water finds its way into the car’s electrical systems, you do not need to stress out as the breaker will trip, and no power will be supplied to the high voltage cables. The point is that you will remain completely safe.
As EV technology advances, auto manufacturers promise to deliver excellent quality electric vehicles with a futuristic design and perform well on the roads.
However, some people are still not that excited about these vehicles and would prefer to stick to their traditional combustion engine cars.
Of course, they have their reasons, but one cannot deny that these cars are environmentally friendly and produce no, especially compared to traditional cars.
Electric cars, nowadays, are designed to withstand all weather conditions, so it is safe to say that you can take your vehicle in rainy weather without getting worried that your car will leave you abandoned on the road in rainy weather.
Also, an electric vehicle will not electrocute you if it is parked on a semi-submerged road or when you are driving through a puddle.
The primary reason for this is that electric cars have some electrical components that are tightly sealed, so they are dust and waterproof.
In addition, electric vehicles are tested in much deeper waters than conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) cars. Also, electric cars have much fewer components than combustion engine cars. So they are less prone to get damaged.
The battery pack and electric motor are so tightly sealed that you are even safe to go through twenty inches of water without hesitation.
During testing, electric vehicles are made to go through water so that manufacturers can ensure that nothing will go wrong with the car before introducing it to the public.
Even if you take your electric car in the water and some water enters the battery, the moisture sensors will kick in, and the circuit breakers will trip, cutting off the entire power supply to the car. This will ensure that no electrical hazard takes place. Keep in mind that this feature is not found in conventional cars.
EV cars also have a lot of sensors and detectors in them, so when you start an EV car, you will find that it carries a number of safety checks before you can drive the vehicle.
So, God forbid, if moisture is detected by the car, it will cut off the power supply from the batteries as a safety measure.
Read Electric Car Battery Life in Cold Weather
Conventional Vehicles and Water
We all have driven petrol-based cars our entire lives and have found that they tend to stop working if taken through a submerged road. This happens because normal cars rely on air. They have air-tight cylinders that open and close.
So, when water enters these pumps instead of air, the system does not work as liquids cannot be compressed like gases. The engine in a normal car works like a huge air pump.
It uses all the fossil fuel to ensure that the pistons in the cylinders are provided with enough water. These pistons ensure that valves can open and close. Hence, air is extremely important for the engine to function.
If the standard car goes through water, you can expect a few things to happen. First, the air intake pipe can be filled with water. Second, water can enter the transmission and ruin your gearbox. Third, the water can enter the brakes, and your braking system could break down.
The EV cars provide better performance than combustion engine cars even when they have fewer components, as electric cars do not rely on air. As we know that electric cars do not require oils or fluids to run, many risks are reduced when driving through water.
Traditional cars have internal combustion engines that operate with the use of pipes and valves, while electric cars have electric motors that provide optimum performance without any extra components.
Moreover, electric cars are eco-friendly engines, so their motors do not need air to work. Their internal systems are simple enough and can function without complications.
Moreover, since they generally use fewer oils and fluids, the risk of driving these cars through water is even less.
Read How to Improve an Electric Car’s Range?
The Difference Between Electric Car Batteries and Traditional Car Batteries
The batteries in electric and hybrid cars are slightly different from traditional cars. They are bigger, and instead of lead acid, they are stored with nickel-metal hydride.
Mostly, batteries are put behind the rear seat. Sometimes, they can be put near the truck in an enclosed space.
For example, in the Toyota Highlander SUV Hybrid, you will find that the battery pack is found under the rear seat and is attached to a cross member.
The point is that when it comes to hybrid or electric cars, the battery pack is never located in an area where water from the road can easily find it.
In some designs, the battery back might also be located towards the lower part of the car. Hybrid vehicles made in the United States seal their battery packs in metal shells.
These shells do not have access to the current from the batteries and are usually covered with some panel. Even if the shell gets wet, it will not corrode as it is made in a way to stop corrosion for as long as possible.
Also check out; Why is Electric Car Insurance so Expensive?
What if Your Electric Car Gets Submerged in Water?
If it does happen, then you should allow your car to completely dry and then take it to the company you purchased it from. You can also take the car to a technician that could tell you if everything is okay with the components of the car or not.
In case the car gets flooded, you will have to dry it out, which can be a headache. However, most electric cars come with a safety system. This system allows power to automatically shut down in case any electric components make direct contact with water.
For example, in case you drive your car through a road that is submerged with water, the circuit breakers will stop functioning so that nothing dangerous happens.
Read How Do Electric Cars Benefit Large Cities?
Does Moisture Harm the Batteries of an Electric Car?
As discussed earlier, although it is perfectly safe to drive your electric car in the rain, it does not mean one does not have to take precautionary measures.
Cars require much bigger battery packs and much more power than smartphones or laptops, so they have higher voltages.
Even though all the cables in the cars are properly insulated, one should take precautions and not touch them when wet to avoid an accident.
It is the same as the normal combustion engine as if the gas tank has a leak; it can explode. Hence, a wet battery pack can increase the risk of electrocution when it is wet.
If you are worried that moisture will get to the batteries while you are driving, then turning the vehicle off can reduce the power of the batteries.
If your electric vehicle is installed with nickel batteries, you should be more cautious while driving on rainy days. These batteries release hydrogen when they come in contact with water.
Little amounts of hydrogen should hurt nobody, but if the amount increases, then the driver could feel dizzy, and this could not end up well. You may end up in an accident and harm those around you.
However, technicians experienced in dealing with the maintenance of electric cars know how to deal with these issues and can get rid of the ruptured battery packs safely.
Why are Electric Cars Safe to Drive in the Rain?
So far, we have learned that you can drive your electric car through a puddle or in the rain without worrying about anyone being electrocuted by it.
Moreover, we also know that even if the EV gets wet, it will work fine. In the worst case, the circuit breakers will trip in an attempt to keep those around you safe.
It must also be kept in mind that every electric car has a large system of electrical components. Even though traditional engines do not need too much current to work, they do need to be connected to batteries that can send electricity to a variety of systems.
Usually, when water finds its way into the hood and wets the battery terminals, the most that can happen is that you might find some corrosion. A short circuit is not likely to take place.
Compared to electric cars, these have bigger battery cells with several different cells. Over the past few years, lithium-ion technology has become more popular, but you can still find electric cars that use lead-acid batteries and nickel-metal hybrid batteries.
Every battery comes in an insulated pack so that moisture cannot find its way into it, so you have nothing to worry about.
Read Can You Drive an Electric Car Without a License?
Systems That Make EVs Safe to Drive-In Wet Weather
As we have already established, simply driving through a puddle or getting wet in the rain won’t cause your EV to give electric shocks to anyone who touches it.
We also know what happens if an electric car gets wet: it either continues to work perfectly fine, or the circuit breakers begin to trip in order to keep everyone safe.
However, if you are still anxious about water getting inside your electric car, please consider the fact that every car has an extensive system of electrical components – and that includes all combustible-engine vehicles.
Although regular engines require a low voltage of current to operate, they are still connected to a battery that is responsible for sending electricity to different systems.
Typically, when water seeps inside the hood and moistens the battery terminals, the most that happen is corrosion. There is no immediate threat of a short circuit.
In comparison, electric cars have larger battery packs comprising multiple cells. While lithium-ion technology has become more prevalent over the past couple of years, you can still find EVs that contain nickel-metal hydride and lead-acid batteries.
However, regardless of their type, all battery cells are sealed in an insulated pack that keeps them safe from moisture.
Can You Wash an Electric Car Using Water?
You can definitely wash an electric car with water. If you want to clean your car at home manually, you can use the traditional way to wash it- carwash mitts and a plain old bucket of water will do. You can also use a jet washer to get water in all the hard-to-reach places.
However, before you start washing your electric car, you must ensure that the electric vehicle is not plugged in and that it is not charging. Moreover, roll up all the doors and windows and make sure that the ignition is not on.
Even if you want to take your electric car through a car wash, you can do so without worrying. However, you must ensure that the washers keep the windows and doors closed, and fold up the side mirrors.
The automatic functions of the car should also be disabled. According to experts, the brakes should be disabled when the electric car goes into the tunnel for a wash.
Read Do All Electric Cars Stop Charging Once the Battery is Fully Charged?
Can You Charge Your Electric Car in the Rain?
If you want to charge your electric car when it is raining outside, there is nothing you need to worry about. However, we recommend parking the car in some shade close to a charging station.
Moreover, it would be better for you if the charging port where the charger is supposed to go is dry so that you do not face any problems on your journey.
Read What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common queries people have about electric cars and water.
Yes, it is completely safe to wash an electric car with water.
If you are planning to clean your vehicle manually at home, you can either wash it the old way – with buckets of water and carwash mitts – or hose it down with a jet washer. However, before you begin, please make sure the car is not plugged in or charging, all the windows and doors are completely closed, and the ignition has been turned off.
Yes, you can take your electric car through a carwash without a single worry.
However, before getting your electric car thoroughly washed, please remember to close all the doors and windows, fold the side mirrors, and disable all the automatic functions. Furthermore, experts recommend keeping the ignition on and brakes disabled when taking your EV through a car wash tunnel.
It is also advised to keep the vehicle in a neutral position.
A common misconception is that driving an electric car in the rain can lead to short circuits. However, that is not true at all. An EV can be driven in the rain just like a gas-powered car, as both have built-in safety features to keep the rainwater from entering the electrical components.
The battery packs and high-voltage cables inside electric cars are typically well-insulated. Moreover, these vehicles also go through a soak test to work perfectly fine under extreme weather conditions.
Of course, there is no harm in charging your electric car even while it is pouring outside. Although, if possible, try to park your EV in a shaded spot near a charging station. Moreover, please ensure the end of the charger that plugs into your charging port is completely dry to avoid any problems down the road.
Whether you drive an electric car or a traditional one, drying out a flooded vehicle can be a headache.
Fortunately, most EVs feature a safety system that automatically shuts down power if any electrical components come in direct contact with water. For instance, if an electric car gets submerged in water, the circuit breakers will immediately trip to avoid any dangerous outcomes.
Related electric cars articles:
- How to Select Battery for Electric Car?
- Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down?
- How Are Electric Car Charging Stations Powered
- Cost Of Running Electric Car Vs Petrol In UK
- Are Electric Cars Cheap To Insure?
It is no secret that water and electricity do not go hand-in-hand. However, electric cars are made in a way that they can withstand the harshest weather conditions.
This means that regardless of how wet the roads are or how badly it is pouring outside, there are high chances that your car will be safe. The components in the electric car, such as the battery pack, come insulated so there are no short circuits.
Even if water and moisture find their way into the electric systems, the circuit breakers are made in such a way that they will shut down, and the entire system will stop working. This feature is designed to keep you safe.
We hope that this guide has been helpful to you and answered some of the top questions you had about maintaining electric vehicles and what would happen if your electric car got wet. Remember, in case of any confusion or problem, call your car technician to guide you through.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.