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While you’re wondering if your Tesla can float across the nearby bay, and most owners ponder this often, this Tesla Model 3 set out to prove whether it can or cannot float. It proved to satisfy the question, but the circumstances were not what the owner had planned. This happened off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, just north of Los Angeles. And surprisingly, this was the second such incident of floating vehicles within a few months.

Were there any victims inside the Tesla?

According to KEYT News Channel, somebody spotted this Tesla Model 3 north of Carpenteria floating. It’s just south of Santa Barbara, where the Carpenteria-Summerland Fire Department first discovered it Monday. Authorities are investigating what led to the Tesla floating off into the sunset.

The vehicle was searched and people in the vicinity were interviewed. At this point, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department also began investigating the discovery. There was nothing found inside or around the car. This wasn’t the first time a vehicle was discovered floating off the shores of Carpenteria. “We made sure that the vehicle wasn’t reported as stolen and notified the registered owner that it was their responsibility to have it recovered,” Raquel Zick from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office told Carscoops.

Was the floating Tesla finally retrieved?

Floating Tesla
Floating Tesla Model 3 | Instagram

This incident was identical to an earlier discovery of a Bronco floating in the same area. The Bronco discovery was pretty straightforward. “They drove it on the beach, got stuck, left it there, and the tide came in,” according to Zick. “At that point, things can go from bad to worse incredibly fast.” The good news is that no hazardous materials spilled into the marsh in this section of the ocean. 

That’s good news for the planet, but for the owner, they’ll be paying big money to clear the area of the Tesla. To retrieve the Bronco a few different attempts proved futile. Ultimately, it took massive airbags to get it out of the sandbar. Fortunately, nobody was injured as a result of these floating vehicle incidents.

So this proves Tesla Model 3 sedans can float?

floating tesla
Floating Tesla Model 3 | Instagram

After the flooding from Hurricane Ida in Florida, Tesla founder Elon Musk was vocal about how the Tesla Cybertruck pickup would be completely waterproof. But as you can see, the ability to float in ocean waters doesn’t mean clear sailing.

So at this point, we’ll have to wait to see what the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department finds. Then, based on fines, costs of retrieval, and possible environmental violations, we’ll see if the ability to float is a good thing. Because, in the end, it might be better to have it float away.


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