We all know the effects of mixing water and electricity.
One of the common fears most people have about electric cars is whether they can safely drive or charge them in heavy rain.
Are electric cars safe in heavy rain?
It’s perfectly safe to drive an electric vehicle in heavy rain. Electric cars are designed to charge and drive safely in rain and snow, but not in completely flooded areas. All major electric components of the vehicle are safely and securely tucked away and shielded to prevent injuring the driver and passengers.
Can you always drive an electric car in the rain?
Both EVs and gas-powered cars use electricity to run. That means automakers must put mechanisms in place to keep vehicles safe during the wet season.
Every electric car sold in the US today is designed to operate in a wide range of conditions.
That means you should comfortably drive your vehicle in dry, cold, wet, dusty, foggy, and hot conditions without problems. However, warm weather also affects electric cars.
It’s also safe to say that automakers anticipated this question among new electric vehicle owners and created vehicles you can use under any condition.
According to vehicle experts, electric cars are purposefully engineered to withstand water and rain intrusion.
Remember, these vehicles must meet specific safety requirements by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, and electric shock is one of them.
In simple terms, the electrical system undergoes thorough testing to be considered safe.
You should also read our article on the main dangers of electric cars.
Can you drive an electric car in thunderstorms?
You can drive an electric car in a thunderstorm without worrying about water entering your battery. We write in-depth about how thunder and lightning affect electric cars.
While driving in thunderstorms or lightning is never a good idea, you will likely be safe, but not the car.
If lightning strikes your vehicle, it will transfer to the body metal, tires, and then to the ground.
This can cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical components.
The electric vehicle battery cells are not open to elements, and manufacturers intentionally put them in waterproof sealed containers.
Most people are concerned about water damage since batteries are near the ground. However, due to the insulation surrounding the battery, there is no risk of water damage to any electric component when driving on a rainy day.
If you’re caught in the middle of a thunderstorm when driving, be sure to assess it before driving through it. While it’s not something you want to do deliberately, being stuck in one doesn’t always mean you should stop.
You can reach your destination without any serious harm.
How waterproof are the batteries and high-voltage components?
First of all, there is an IP or Internal Protection rating system that all electrical vehicle components must comply with. IP ratings are actually on almost every electronic device or appliance we use.
The typical IP is IP65, which means the battery is protected from dust and water.
IP65 means the item is completely sealed against dust entering and protected from low-pressure water jets from any direction.
Electric vehicle components in the high voltage sections of the motor battery and speed controller have a rating of IP66.
This means the systems are protected from strong jets of water, with the IP68 being one of the highest ratings.
This is the rating you would be looking for if you live in wet areas, as it allows your vehicle to cruise in water like a submarine.
Most modern electric motors. Batteries and speed controllers are water cooled to ensure their durability by maintaining an even temperature at all times.
That means if your vehicle is floating on a flooded river or road, you can rest assured that its components are well sealed, making it extremely impossible to cause an electrical hazard to bystanders, occupants, or marine life.
In case your vehicle’s battery and other electrical components are damaged, they may come into contact with water.
Luckily, all-electric vehicles have protection and safety systems that sense water damage and disconnect from high voltage electrics, limiting the high voltage within the battery.
Also, electric vehicles come with a ground-fault system built to test for electrical connections between the high voltage system and the metal vehicle body.
On detection, the ground fault system shuts off the electrical supply to the high voltage components.
That means your chances of getting in trouble, whether in a storm, flood, or heavy rain, are almost zero.
Can you wash electric cars with a high-pressure cleaner?
It’s perfectly safe to wash your electric car with a high-pressure cleaner. The high pressure won’t damage the motor, battery, or any other system.
The metallic body protects the electric components, but they’re also sealed to prevent any possible water damage.
The only time you should worry about washing your vehicle with a high-pressure cleaner is when your car’s internal components are damaged or have loose fittings due to many repairs or crashes.
Before washing your vehicle, be sure to:
- Fold the side mirrors
- Close all windows, doors, and sunroofs properly
- Retract the aerial
- Disable all the automatic functions of the car, like the windshield wipers.
Many people like to wash their electric cars manually to prevent damage and keep up with maintenance.
If you intend to wash your vehicle with a high-pressure cleaner, be careful not to turn the pressure too high.
Avoid standing too close to the vehicle and set your pressure between 1200 and 1900 PSI.
Keep the nozzle at least six inches away from the car paint and 12 inches away from the trim. Spray water at a downward angle to avoid damaging the car’s surface.
Can electric cars charge in the rain?
It is safe to charge an electric vehicle in the rain. The electric car and the charging station are designed to handle just about any weather except floods and hurricanes.
Engineers designed the vehicles to withstand water, dust, rain, and other particles that could impact the functionality of the electrical system.
Charging stations and installations must meet safety standards set by various safety organizations. Whether you need to recharge on the road or use a fast charging current, your vehicle should be safe charging when it’s raining or snowing.
Commercial stations are well-wired, vigorously inspected and thoroughly tested to protect you, your family, and your vehicle.
The ingress protection rating or IP rating indicates your vehicle’s intrusion level. Generally, the higher the IP rating on your car, the safer it is to charge your vehicle in any condition.
Your vehicle is also fitted with an in-cable vehicle control box, a small device located between the power point and connection to your electric car.
The in-cable vehicle control box ensures that information is successfully communicated between your vehicles and the charging source.
Your vehicle will use its piloting capabilities to detect problems with power, and the safety features programmed to detect issues will immediately kick in and cut the charge.
This protection mechanism mitigates water safety risks and protects your vehicle from surges and shocks.
Another critical safety component that makes charging your vehicle in rain safe is ground monitoring, which is an earth or grounding connection that monitors ground continuity to prevent your car from receiving any charge when there is nothing in the current.
Lastly, electric charges are highly insulated and waterproof.
Can electric cars drive through flooded streets?
If you submerge an electric vehicle in flooded water, nothing will happen to it unless there is damage to internal systems like the battery and motor.
You can drive through a flood zone just fine as long as you have enough charge. Unlike gas-powered vehicles, which don’t function when flooded, electric cars aren’t propelled by internal-combustion engines.
An electric motor has only one moving part—the rotating drive shaft—spun by the magnetic current generated by pumping electrons through wire coiled around the driveshaft.
When there is no current, then there is no movement. The round driveshaft has contact with bearings at either end of the motor casing.
That means if your vehicle is filled with water, nothing will stop the drive shaft from rotating unless the water touches the critical systems.
However, no matter the type of vehicle you drive, we do not recommend venturing through floods, hurricanes, or blizzards.
Remember, water conducts electricity, and you can expect powerful electric charges to travel up to 50 feet in the water.
Flooding can render the motor useless as it takes a lot of power to push an over 3500-plus-pound electric vehicle down a flooded street.
If you have a damaged system, the water can enter and flood the engine cylinders and damage electrical systems. Flooding can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s interior and lead to molding and corrosion.
Lastly, your electric vehicle may not show signs of damage after driving through a flood, but the irreversible damage may start showing a few days or weeks later.
One of these damages is rust, especially if the water is contaminated with harmful chemicals and salt.
Can you drive an electric car through a car wash?
It is entirely safe to take your electric vehicle through a car wash. In fact, you should feel free to wash your vehicle with an automatic car wash like a jet wash, tunnels, and roll-over systems.
The electric systems in your vehicle, such as the battery and motor, are safely placed inside the automobile to protect them against water intrusion.
The rigorous weather tests conducted on an electric vehicle before it hits the market help prevent severe water damage when the vehicle is exposed to too much water.
One particular test—the soak test—involves placing the vehicle at various flood levels to check for leaks or damage. As mentioned earlier, these components are well-covered to protect and prevent water damage.
That means you can take your vehicle through a car wash without any worries.
Judging from the stringent regulations in place, we can safely say that electric vehicles are equally safe to drive in the rain as gas-powered vehicles.
Generally, the automakers did a good job ensuring that you can use your vehicle normally as you would with a gas-powered vehicle.
The battery, charging equipment, and other systems undergo various tests and certifications to protect consumers from electrocution and other electrical hazards.
To understand your safety level, you can find the protection rating for each component of the equipment in your car.
Lastly, your electric vehicle has systems in place that will cut off electric transmission if it detects the slightest abnormality.
That means you don’t have to worry about electrocution when charging or maneuvering around rain or pools of water.
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