How Does a Tesla Handle Heavy Rain? Handling Comparison

When we see and read the news we are constantly bombarded with information about Teslas’ shortcomings. One of these are that Teslas and electric cars cannot handle any water on the road. So, how good are Teslas on wet roads?

Teslas have features like even weight distribution, high-quality tires, and all-wheel drive capabilities. These make them one of the safest cars in the rain. NHTSA rated Tesla among the safest cars. Autopilot and the AI features also provide superior handling in heavy rain.

Check out the rest of the article to find more info on the topic. What exactly is Teslas advantage? As with everything Tesla, there is usually more to it than you might think.

Driving a Tesla in the Rain

You spent a good chunk of change on your Nikola, Sparky, or Tessie (you have named your car, right?), so wondering how it will drive in the rain seems legit to me. 

Your Tesla has several features that make it one of the safest cars in the rain. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated Teslas, including the Model 3, among the safest cars on the market.

Teslas typically have good handling in the rain thanks to the following:

  • Heavy vehicle weight
  • Even weight distribution
  • High-quality tires
  • All-wheel drive capabilities

Tesla Weight vs Other Vehicles

Weight is an important factor in keeping your car on the road when the pavement is wet. This enhanced grip is critical for maintaining vehicle control and avoiding spinning. Extra weight creates more friction, and the increased friction gives the car a better grip on the road.

Because of their heavy batteries, Teslas are among the heaviest cars on the road compared to cars of similar sizes.

 Weight (lbs/kg)Weight (lbs/kg)
Model 3 single motor3,582 / 1,625Toyota Corolla3,000 / 1,361
Model 3 dual-motor4,065 / 1,844Honda Accord3,300 / 1,496
Model S4,561 / 2,069Dodge Charger4,400 / 1,996
Model X5,185 / 2,352Mazda CX-53,500 / 1,487
This table shows the weight comparisons between Tesla and similar-sized gasoline cars (comparison model weights are rounded).

Weight Distribution for Teslas

The specs on the Cybertruck haven’t been released, but it will undoubtedly be heavy, and it will feature another critical safety feature—weight distribution.

Cars that are heavier in the front than the rear (or vice versa) can have traction problems on slippery roads. Since the heavier half of the vehicle will be able to grip the road better, the lighter half of a car is prone to lose traction. Pick-up trucks are particularly susceptible to this.

The design and placement of the batteries is part of the reason why most Tesla models have nearly a 50-50 weight distribution.

I also wrote an article where I discussed how electric cars handle in the snow? You might find it helpful.

Tires and Tesla Handling

Tires are arguably the most critical component of handling because the tires make contact with the road. Extra weight and good weight distribution mean little if your tires don’t grip the pavement well.

The good news is that Teslas come with high-end tires. Teslas come with premium tires with better stopping and anti-slip power than stock tires. Also, a Tesla has 100% of its torque available, and standard tires wear out more quickly than the ones Tesla puts on its cars.

How Does a Tesla Handle Heavy Rain? Handling Comparison 1

All-Wheel Drive Improves Handling

All-wheel drive provides power to both axles, giving the driver improved control over a 2-wheel car. Most Tesla models come with 4-Wheel Drive (the base Model C is an exception), and this will improve traction and road control.

People sometimes claim that even though a Tesla has a 4-wheel drive, it doesn’t handle as well as a four by 4 with an all-wheel drive. This video compares a Tesla Model 3 with a Land Rover Discovery, and the results should put those arguments to rest.

Auto-Pilot Features Also Help During Rainy Weather

Autopilot also contributes to a Tesla’s handling in the rain. The cameras and AI features provide superior handling in heavy rain. Heavy rains decrease visibility for humans, but autopilot systems do not rely on visibility. For example, the vehicle’s cameras and sensors will likely catch obstacles and other hazards that are hard to see in the rain. 

Recent Tesla models include eight surround cameras with a 360-degree view. In addition, the software is constantly being improved to better adapt the automobile to inclement weather.

A word of caution: Don’t rely on these features to keep you safe if you drive recklessly. Tesla warns in its Owner’s Manual that features like traction control cannot prevent accidents if you drive dangerously.

Tesla Batteries Are Waterproof

Tesla batteries are encased, ensuring they are waterproof. Indeed, because EVs do not need airflow, the entire “engine” can be sealed, keeping water out. In addition, the cars are tested to ensure they are waterproof because, as we all know, water and electricity make for a shocking experience.

If Tesla sold cars with batteries that could shock the driver, the company would be sued and probably go out of business. 

Anyway, on a similar note; I wrote an article where I discussed if you can charge a Tesla in the rain. Check it out!

Fun Fact: Elon Musk bought the submarine car used in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. After buying it, he learned that the car was still submersible but was not driveable. 

He paid nearly 900,000 thousand for the car. The owner who put it up at an auction got a bargain—he paid $100 for the contents of the storage unit that held the submersible car.

This homemade video shows a driver taking his Model-S through a flooded tunnel, swimming past stranded vehicles.

Did You Know: Tesla added a Car Wash Mode in a recent update. It locks the charge port to keep a brush from opening it accidentally. In addition, it will disable the wipers, the parking sensor chimes, and turn off sentry mode. Most of these can be done manually, but having a single command ensures you won’t forget something.

Frequently Asked Question

What Is Deep Rain?

Deep rain is where your wipers use a neural network trained with over 1 million photos to detect how much rain is falling on your windshield. Tesla uses cameras as opposed to sensors for this.

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

Contact Us if you have any questions or queries.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.