Now, Musk is adamant that this revelation isn’t a recommendation for all the Model S owners to drive their cars into the nearest body of water — but in case of some weird event like a flood, the Model S is in fact, amphibian.
What does that mean? It means that car can operate on both land and water, though again not necessarily by design. Apparently the Model S’ drive units and battery are sealed to prevent water from getting into these important parts and allows for water passage. Now, whether the Model S floats in water because it is light enough, or by design, is unclear. Musk appears to be referencing to a video of a Model S swimming through a flooded street in Russia (see below).
How does the boat stuff work? Well without any details, we can assume that the car is propelled much like how a water wheel works. Using the car’s tire rotation as a sort of propeller to drive the Model S forward as it floats in a lake, or a flooded street. As the wheels turn, the rotation of the wheel converts free-flowing water into power, though water wheels are often designed with blades to better catch the water as it moves.
Either way, Musk seems intent on turning his Tesla automobiles into consumer spy cars. Cars that James Bond would be envious of if not for the fact that he only drives luxury British automobiles. For Tesla Model S owners, however, they can rest knowing that their car will survive (albeit for a limited time) as a water vehicle/spy getaway car.
Inverse does not recommend or endorse Model S owners to test Elon Musk’s water observations.