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Elon Musk Making a Working Version of James Bond's Submersible Car

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the no-mr.-bond,-i-expect-you-to-sink dept.

Transportation 91

Nerval's Lobster writes "In The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), James Bond is given a Lotus Espirit S1 that doubles as a submarine. More than thirty years after that movie's release, a contractor opened up a random Long Island storage container to find one of the automobile-submarines used in filming. He promptly put it up for auction, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk purchased it for a cool $866,000. But Musk isn't planning to restore the Bond car and put it in a garage somewhere: he wants to make it run. 'It was amazing as a little kid in South Africa to watch James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me drive his Lotus Esprit off a pier, press a button and have it transform into a submarine underwater,' Tesla PR wrote in a statement to Jalopnik. 'I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform. What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real.' Whether that means Musk will install new equipment in the actual prop, or have his engineers build a seaworthy replica, is an open question. What's more certain is that Musk has the capability (and cash) to make something like that happen, considering how he already manages the construction of next-generation electric cars and reusable rockets for a living."

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91 comments

a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (5, Funny)

stooo (2202012) | about 6 months ago | (#45167837)

What could possibly go wrong ???

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45168021)

Yes, let's just run our submarines on sensible, safe things, like plutonium.

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168177)

It's extremely safe, and very reliable .. provided nobody is shooting at you. Then again, if people are shooting at you what your vehicle runs on is probably the least of your worries.

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#45168239)

I dono bout that. You'd certainly not want your sub to be running on anything explosive or reactive when exposed to salt water... Oh wait...

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45170803)

...because you'll put the batteries on the outside, right?!

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 6 months ago | (#45168233)

True, although at least it solves the problem of them setting on fire.

Are you sure? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 6 months ago | (#45169997)

Wouldn't they just burn because they get the chemicals for the reaction from themselves, or the sea water? The internet suggests this reaction would take place and the lithium would burn just the same.

Re:Are you sure? (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 6 months ago | (#45170359)

If you have enough water, it can absorb enough heat to prevent the reaction. Tesla's guide for first responders says, essentially, if you have a large supply of water (hydrant, not truck tank) you can cool the fire down enough to go out. If you don't have a large supply, just protect the surroundings while the car burns.

Re:Are you sure? (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#45170429)

Lithium ion batteries do not contain metallic lithium.

The flammable part of the battery is the organic solvent in the electrolyte.

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168573)

How hard could it be? (Top Gear did it last year)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfOwSTXP-3o [youtube.com]

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45170749)

Really, what's the big deal? I'm pretty sure Top Gear didn't spend $1M on it, either.

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 6 months ago | (#45168945)

We're talking Elon Musk of Tesla fame here, not Fisker. Teslas at least don't catch fire when exposed to water.

Re:a bunch of lithium batteries in seawater ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45169677)

You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have a Lotus Esprit with a frickin' laser beam attached to its roof! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?

Looking forward to the Tesla USB (1, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | about 6 months ago | (#45167861)

Being from the Bay Area, it would be really cool to drive from, say Palo Alto to Emeryville (Steve Jobs' old commute) on or under the bay. Would probably be quicker than going through traffic.

Re:Looking forward to the Tesla USB (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168169)

Can you imagine the havoc it would cause when GPS directions get added for underwater routes?

Re:Looking forward to the Tesla USB (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 6 months ago | (#45170585)

Already there:

Numerous motorists following bad GPS directions have driven their vehicles into bodies of water. Three Japanese tourists in Australia were persuaded by their GPS that they could drive to North Stradbroke Island at low tide (it’s actually accessible to cars only by ferry) and got stuck in the mud flats of Moreton Bay. They abandoned the car before the returning tide submerged it.
A Senegalese man driving through Spain wasn’t so lucky. He was following GPS directions at night when the road just ended, his passenger said later. He drove into a lake and drowned.

Of course, GPS doesn't work under water, so the directions would cause real havoc for those who actually COULD drive under water... and then got lost. Maybe a requirement would be a floatable buoy with a built-in antenna? Useful for finding the hapless drivers before/after they run out of air, too.

Re:Looking forward to the Tesla USB (3, Funny)

drkim (1559875) | about 6 months ago | (#45172831)

Can you imagine the havoc it would cause when GPS directions get added for underwater routes?

Apple Maps already has that capability.

It wasn't supposed to have it... but it does.

Re:Looking forward to the Tesla USB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168305)

Being from the Bay Area, it would be really cool to drive from, say Palo Alto to Emeryville (Steve Jobs' old commute) on or under the bay. Would probably be quicker than going through traffic.

You may want to spend more time here [fastamphibians.com].

Re:Looking forward to the Tesla USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45169729)

I doubt it would be quicker, you'd have to fight one helluva current trying to drag you either north or south. Not to mention the deep channel you'd have to drive into and out of each time.

impossible (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#45167907)

slashdot's software would never allow a post long enough to list the reasons why it is totally impossible to turn this car into a submarine. It is somewhat like my Dad's joke of "jack the radiator cap up and slide another vehicle under it".

Re:impossible (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168051)

But there already exists submersible cars, this wouldn't be the first.
One I remember, it works as a car, a boat, a sub and sadly not a helicopter / VTOL, that would be great if it could.
I forgot the name of the one I saw recently on Gadget Man on Channel4 in the UK, but it was a rather nice.

And of course, I cannot fail to link this, Top Gear submersible experiment [youtube.com].

Re:impossible (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#45174173)

correct, I'm saying the car that is the subject of this article cannot be made into one. not without replacing everything

Re:impossible (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 6 months ago | (#45168085)

Most submarines are battery-operated. Tell me why a guy who knows batteries fairly well can't make a submarine work.

Re:impossible (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | about 6 months ago | (#45168179)

I don't think it is impossible, but there will definitely be a lot of hurdles. If I recall, to get it to transform, you'll need the planes to somehow come out from the wheel wells and be controllable. You'll need the shutters to slid into place over every window. Keeping the cabin water tight will be fun while still having it function properly out of the water (most subs don't have conventional doors for instance). Of course you need air supply and ballast control, as well as the rudders and props. Definitely not an easy project.

Re:impossible (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#45174233)

so you are not an engineer. I am. it is impossible for that vehicle to be made into a submarine without complete replacement. just as one tiny example, even if watertight, the body would be crushed underwater. There are about a hundred other simple problems like that.

Re:impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45177955)

Yeah, what sort of engineer? All you need is to pressurise the vehicle just as a S.C.U.B.A. pressurises human lungs. Oh! you also forgot that the espirit submarine actually worked (but not real well) so Ebon Musk bought the physical evidence that you are in error.

Re:impossible (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#45174181)

issue isn't whether a submarine car is possible, I'm saying THAT CAR cannot be made into a submarine with any amount of engineering other than complete replacement. Do you even know the basics of how a submarine works and must be designed?

Re:impossible (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 6 months ago | (#45186243)

http://www.lotusespritturbo.com/James_Bonds_Lotus_Esprit_S1.htm [lotusespritturbo.com]
it wasn't CGI, it was a submarine. A prop, but somewhat working, if not as the movie claims.

" Do you even know the basics of how a submarine works and must be designed?"
Common fallacy of assuming that because you have an informed opinion, someone appearing to disagree with you must have an uninformed one. Do I need to get started on quiet dynamic ballast adjustment techniques to maintain depth in SSBNs when crossing thermals?

waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45167921)

Solar = cool, Tesla = cool, Spacex= awesome. submersible-cars = not cool. Previous versions of the sub-car and flying car have shown that this is a colossal waste of money. Just build a dedicated submersible or a dedicated plane. A hybrid does not posses enough value to merit the added costs. Focus your energy on building a re-usable rocket Elon!

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168241)

Doesn't matter if it's practical. If I were a rich inventor, I would do this. Especially with the original 007 Lotus.

Re:waste of money (5, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#45168371)

Let him waste his money if he wants. I agree this is a foolish idea but if that's what he wants to do for a hobby, what do I care?

Besides, I got a feeling there will be hours of fun just watching U-Tube videos of his system tests. Wonder how many times they will have to winch the thing off the bottom before he gives up?

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168513)

Let him waste his money if he wants. I agree this is a foolish idea but if that's what he wants to do for a hobby, what do I care?

Besides, I got a feeling there will be hours of fun just watching U-Tube videos of his system tests. Wonder how many times they will have to winch the thing off the bottom before he gives up?

I disagree with the "let him waste his money if he wants" philosophy that most Americans seem to have. Sure, rich flounders have the right to waste money. But I think it is the responsibility of the public to shame them when they do. In a capitalist society, it is the excess money that should be devoted to improving society. Wasting money is literally pissing away potential to make the world a better place.

Re:waste of money (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 6 months ago | (#45168605)

How is building submersible cars not 'making the world a better place', Comrade?

If you're lucky, he'll sell the technology to the people who make Zil limos, so you can have one too.

Re: waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168739)

Nonsense. Spending money on a project doesn't make the money vanish â" it transfers it to someone else. Real problems with uneven wealth distribution arise when money is hoarded, or only exchanged with other rich people. When it goes to creative or skilled individuals it results in very real opportunities and the system works the way it is supposed to, by giving those people economic power of their own in recognition of their value.

Re:waste of money (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#45168873)

In a capitalist society, it is the excess money that should be devoted to improving society

That's more communist, where someone who has more than he needs gives it back to help those that don't have enough.

In a capitalist society, his excess money goes anywhere he wants to do anything he wants, and anyone who can provide what he wants gets paid for it, and can in turn spend it however they like, and so on. It will certainly take a good deal of money to turn this car into a submarine, and that means more paychecks for manufacturers and engineers on the project, who can then spend those paychecks on whatever they want, and so on.

That is, after all, the purpose of capitalist commerce: people getting things they want.

Wasting money = creating jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168883)

When right people waste money, they give it to people to do stuff for them. This is much better than sitting on money.

Re:Wasting money = creating jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45172345)

When right people waste money, they give it to people to do stuff for them. This is much better than sitting on money.

Or spending piles of money on lawyers and accountants playing games with government officials (and sending money under the table to those same government officials) to move that to places they want to put that money... usually in another country where they can spend that money freely.

Oh wait, that is the point of a world government... so everybody is equally miserable.

Re:waste of money (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about 6 months ago | (#45169283)

You must hate hobbyist quadcopter pilots. Or hobbyist -anything- that is essentially spending money for nothing other than the cool/fun factor.

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45169721)

Wasting money is literally pissing away potential to make the world a better place.

One, and only one, of the following is true:

1. When money is spent on a project that you don't approve of, that money magically vanishes into nothingness, therefore the quoted statement is valid.
2. You are retarded.

Re:waste of money (1)

isorox (205688) | about 6 months ago | (#45170339)

Wasting money is literally pissing away potential to make the world a better place.

One, and only one, of the following is true:

1. When money is spent on a project that you don't approve of, that money magically vanishes into nothingness, therefore the quoted statement is valid.
2. You are retarded.

If I paid 100 cancer researchers to break rocks in the hot sun, this would be a massive waste. Sure, they can spend the money on someone else doing something worthwhile, but you're removing their potential productivity from the economy. That's bad for the economy, and bad for the world. Far better to pay them to research cancer cures, they pass the same cash back into the economy, but they are adding value.

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45177843)

If I paid 100 cancer researchers to break rocks in the hot sun, this would be a massive waste. Sure, they can spend the money on someone else doing something worthwhile, but you're removing their potential productivity from the economy. That's bad for the economy, and bad for the world. Far better to pay them to research cancer cures, they pass the same cash back into the economy, but they are adding value.

This is exactly what I had in mind. I'm not saying rich people don't have the right to do whatever they want with their money. I'm saying that when they spend it on crap, they are doing a disservice to the world by not investing in something meaningful. If more wealthy people tried to shape the future instead of wasting on things that don't add value, the world would be a better place.

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45177865)

Wasting money is literally pissing away potential to make the world a better place.

One, and only one, of the following is true:

1. When money is spent on a project that you don't approve of, that money magically vanishes into nothingness, therefore the quoted statement is valid. 2. You are retarded.

I'm not retarted. And the money doesn't vanish into nothingness. The money makes is back into the economy because the guy welding the seams of the sub-car ends up buying lunch, etc etc. But it is a lost opportunity to shape the future into a more meaningful one, for example hiring another technician to develop re-usable rockets, which could lead to humans colonizing space. That's something meaningful.

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45194883)

If only we had a way to determine what was meaningful and what wasn't meaningful in order to allocate resources correctly.
We could allow people to earn some kind of reward for their talents and work and then based on how much of that they had, they'd have more input into what other people's talents would be used towards... or we could have someone like you decide for everyone based on some inherent value of which only you are aware and therefore capable of deciding upon.

Re:waste of money (1)

dissy (172727) | about 6 months ago | (#45169807)

In a capitalist society, it is the excess money that should be devoted to improving society

Glad to hear it!

Say, can I have a couple thousand bucks? My file server died last week

Re:waste of money (1)

akvalentine (560139) | about 6 months ago | (#45170131)

So you'd rather the rich hoard their money? Wouldn't it be better for everyone to put some of it back into circulation?

Re:waste of money (2)

mwehle (2491950) | about 6 months ago | (#45170495)

Sure, rich flounders have the right to waste money. But I think it is the responsibility of the public to shame them when they do. In a capitalist society, it is the excess money that should be devoted to improving society.

In a capitalist society it is my responsibility to shame someone for not spending money in a way I approve?

Wasting money is literally pissing away potential to make the world a better place.

I'm not sure literally means what you think it does here.

Re:waste of money (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 6 months ago | (#45172957)

Employing a bunch of smart people to work on his fun silly idea seems a lot better than just investing it in the stock market like most would.

Re:waste of money (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 6 months ago | (#45171937)

Considering who is doing this, I would imagine he may develop quite a few technologies that could be applied to a host of things that have no direct connection to this project.
Better water seals, improved materials, better manufacturing techniques.
A lot of NASA tech has been applied to everyday life that saw its origins in spacecraft....Headsets, pens, materials, etc...
It's visionaries with money or means that develop tech for personal reasons that revolutionize the lives of the masses.
(yeah, the same applies to military tech as well, but that is outside the scope of the article.)

Re:waste of money (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#45169515)

Solar = cool, Tesla = cool, Spacex= awesome. submersible-cars = not cool.

People give Musk credit for a lot of things, but they somehow leave out the fact that he's also responsible for foisting the abomination known as PayPal on the world.

Tony Stark would never have invented PayPal.

On a side note... I hope the PR person that successfully got the whole "Musk==Stark" meme going received a large pay raise from Musk.

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45172375)

People give Musk credit for a lot of things, but they somehow leave out the fact that he's also responsible for foisting the abomination known as PayPal on the world.

If you think you can do better than PayPal, be my guest. I guess you always have Bitcoin.

Re:waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45173451)

I'm sure Musk isn't happy with how PayPal has turned out, but selling it gave him the money to invest in Tesla and SpaceX. I'm sure you must have done things you haven't been entirely happy with, but decided you needed to move on rather than getting it perfect.

FP G7OAT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45167959)

$sch3mes. Frankly

Because he wasn't close enough to a supervillain (3, Funny)

depressedrobot (1067078) | about 6 months ago | (#45168113)

Please be a benevolent overlord Elon.

Re:Because he wasn't close enough to a supervillai (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168203)

I would have thought Richard Branson would be the eccentric billionaire most like a bond villain. Tell me his life doesn't remind you of the villain from Moonraker [imdb.com].

Re:Because he wasn't close enough to a supervillai (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45184435)

why? because Larry Ellison also bought an Island, and he's MUCH more evil than Branson

Submersible, but not dry (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 6 months ago | (#45168151)

That movie had a roadable version of the car and a submersible version, but not one that could do both. The submersible version wasn't dry; the operator was wearing scuba gear.

I'm starting to worry that Elon Musk is getting spread too thin. Space-X, Tesla, Hyperloop, automatic driving, plus this. We really need for Space-X and Tesla to succeed.

Re: Submersible, but not dry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168235)

Send in the clone!

Seriously though, of all the people who could have bought that car, i'm glad it was him.

Re:Submersible, but not dry (1)

EGenius007 (1125395) | about 6 months ago | (#45168675)

I'm starting to worry that Elon Musk is getting spread too thin. Space-X, Tesla, Hyperloop, automatic driving, plus this. We really need for Space-X and Tesla to succeed.

Maybe the key to success will ultimately lie in Musk giving those businesses (and the people who run them day-to-day) the space they need to make their own decisions.

Re:Submersible, but not dry (4, Insightful)

Andrio (2580551) | about 6 months ago | (#45168741)

It seems to me that this is purely just a very rich person having a fun side project. He's not planning on a fleet of submersible Tesla's or anything like that. He just wants a toy from his childhood fantasy.

Re:Submersible, but not dry (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 6 months ago | (#45171091)

It seems to me that this is purely just a very rich person having a fun side project. He's not planning on a fleet of submersible Tesla's or anything like that. He just wants a toy from his childhood fantasy.

we should start to worry when he buys the death star prop and is disappointed to find it doesn't actually work.

Re:Submersible, but not dry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45172407)

we should start to worry when he buys the death star prop and is disappointed to find it doesn't actually work.

Perhaps he can convince the Japanese government to raise the Battleship Yamato [wikipedia.org] and then launch it into obit?

Re:Submersible, but not dry (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 6 months ago | (#45173565)

Sure. It starts off as a simple project to have fun with his engineers (probably worth the money, just to keep the engineers happy).

Then a couple years down the line he comes out with something that is marketable.

My dad always wanted to buy a boat but just couldn't justify it. Imagine having the option of an electric car that could turn into a submarine?

My thought: Next he's going to invest in biosphere research. Then a completely self-sufficient underwater biodome. Then a moon dome.

We may be in the middle of the origin story of a Bond villain here...

Re:Submersible, but not dry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45170047)

How was it legal for the person that "just happened to find this car in a random shipping container" to sell it? Didn't it belong to someone? Were the police called? Was the movie studio asked about it? When you are at work, can I just happen to find your car in the parking lot and sell it?

Re:Submersible, but not dry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45172665)

I doubt this is just a hobby project.

In a few years, he may well be using his "waterproof car" technology on the latest models of the Tesla. Having the ability to drive through floodwater would add a new, very practical feature to his cars.

He could be contemplating an off-road version of the Tesla too - those vehicles already command a big profit margin, and it would be a large new market for electric vehicles.

Re:Submersible, but not dry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45173479)

Many things become a lot more floaty in water than they are in air (cars with a large compartment full of air included), this reduces the amount of traction the tires have on the surface they are driving on, making it more likely the wheels will lose traction and the car will get stuck. As many people will be unable to make a good guess on how deep the water in front of them is, and thus whether it will be safe to drive through, I don't think marketing a car as being able to drive through flooded areas is a sensible marketing strategy as it will undoubtedly end up with some idiot trying it when they shouldn't and getting stuck.

Thank christ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168157)

...Elon is working on more impractical things only 1% of the population will ever be able to afford.

Love it (5, Insightful)

Kookus (653170) | about 6 months ago | (#45168437)

It's pretty difficult to keep good talent at organizations. Especially when you get into the grind of a single goal and day in and day out it's the same thing.
Having a boss that might step in 1 day that and say hey, instead of working on that problem you've been on for a while, how about you work on making this car into a submarine. Thanks.
That would be awesome, adds spice into the mix, and helps make people reconsider ever wanting to leave their organization.

Hopefully that's the motivation behind this moreso than the I'm farting so much money now I can't find enough ways to spend it kind of thing!

or not (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 6 months ago | (#45169089)

i've been in organizations where the manager steps in occasionally a redirects efforts to his pet projects. it can derail other efforts and cause people to ask why they are trying, even if the interrupting project seems cool to some. i saw many people leave that organization as a result. so it really depends on how it's done.

Re:or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45169709)

I agree, lack of predictability in project scheduling can be extremely demoralizing. Particularly when accompanied by periods of "hurry up & wait" where extraordinary levels of effort are spent on meeting some arbitrary target only to have the project sit idle for long periods of time for frivolous reasons or as a consequence of the lack of planning & care(that there was supposedly never enough time to do correctly in the beginning).

I'm reminded of the corollary to "build one to throw away" which is that "if you plan on building one to throw away, you end up having to throw two away."

Re:Love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45170821)

...because we've completely run out of interesting problems that could actually benefit the planet, and people living on the planet right now, right?

This project is really a waste of time and effort that could be better spent doing something that is actually useful.

Will work as well as the flying car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168521)

A submersible has a whole lot of very special requirements, none of which a car is likely to ever be able to meet. Being waterproof is just one of them. It also needs considerable plumbing and valves and pumps and tanks and fans and compressors to implement not getting crushed, flotation, balance, center of buoyancy, breathability, and stability. You can tack on some of those features, but each one compromises its ability to be a practical road car. The problem starts with the basic structure, which in a car has strong points to support things from the suspension mounting points, while in a submersible it has to be equally strong around its circumference, a very different structural requirement.

I'm not saying it's not doable, just that at best it's going to be a miserable car and a miserable and dangerous submersible.

original unlikely driveable on land (3, Informative)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 6 months ago | (#45168799)

The original submarine that Musk bought was a lightweight shell that housed a scuba diver inside. It was not watertight. It was propelled by battery-powered propellers controlled by the diver. This is why the windows were covered with the louvers- so the audience couldn't see that James and his lady weren't just sitting inside the car breathing air.

Musk is going to have to create an entirely separate construction if he wants something that can withstand the torque of the Tesla drivetrain and support passengers, etc. It will be easier starting with a Lotus Esprit and then making it into a watertight submersible than the other way around.

I much rather see billionaires spend their money on pursuits like this than building superyachts to park in Monaco. Kudos to Musk!

Re:original unlikely driveable on land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45170777)

Conveniently, there's a white Series 1 Lotus Esprit, right down the road from Tesla HQ in Palo Alto that's ripe for conversion. Looks like the thing hasn't driven for a few years & is surrounded by some decrepit hearses. .

Its already been done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45168983)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfOwSTXP-3o [Youtube.com]

Am I the only one? (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 6 months ago | (#45169037)

Am I the only one picturing Elon Musk sitting in a chair with a white cat in his lap now?

Re:Am I the only one? (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 6 months ago | (#45169193)

For all of the comparisons happening, comparing Musk to Blofeld (here) and other people in other places, this topic brings up another much older one...

Robur the Conqueror

Elon Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45169443)

Also in other news: Elon Musk

Sincerely,
Elon Musk

captcha: Elon Musk

How about a hydrofoil instead? (2)

FridayBob (619244) | about 6 months ago | (#45169899)

There have always been numerous problems with that famous Bond car. For example, it was light enough to be agile like a sports car, but it was nevertheless heavy enough to sink despite having a cabin being largely filled with air. And, what about its pressure hull: how could it be light-weight with a flattened shape, yet still be strong enough to withstand several atmospheres of pressure? By all rights it should be crushed at just a few meters depth. In many ways, making a spacecraft is easier than making a submarine.

On the other hand, if the aim is still to keep the car as light and sporty as possible, it seems to me that an amphibious sports car would be much more do-able, especially if it were to make use of hydrofoils, instead of relying on a streamlined hull, to make it travel more quickly through the water. It might not even be necessary to retract the wheels; just as long as it would remain afloat when sitting on the water and tend to keep its nose up when under power.

weight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45170503)

lets see... Anyone have the volume of air inside a lotus to calculate bouency?
We would need a silly amount of weight to neutralize the underwater lift of the cockpit air.
Yes batteries make a nice constant ballast, but I believe you would need significantly more.
Such weight makes for poor car drive ability.

Cars Float, Submarines Sink (2)

jaa101 (627731) | about 6 months ago | (#45170639)

The fundamental engineering problem here is that cars float and submarines sink. Ballasting that car with enough weight so it's close to neutrally buoyant will ensure it performs nothing like a sports car on the road. This is the kind of issue that made lead acid batteries such a great choice for submarines in the first place.

The best approach is going to involve minimising the volume where water is excluded, i.e., ensuring that as much of the vehicle is flooded by water as possible when it dives. At least, as a sports car, the interior is very small so they may have a chance of making it work.

FAIL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45172067)

That is the verdict on Musk.

PS. Venture Capital Backers, Musk is an idiot and taking you to bankruptcy. But as long as Musk supplies prostitutes and cocaine to you [in anonymity] , why should you bother to stop masturbating.

Pump Pump Pump, Umhp Umph Umph, time to dump. :D

Elon Musk is a type of cologne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45172333)

Whenever I see "Elon Musk" I always picture a bottle of cologne.

amphibious vehicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45173295)

Hey Elon,

Build an amphibious vehicle first, having a sub car is neat and all no real purpose, now a decent flat truck amphibious could actually have some decent 3rd world potential.

hover crafts can do such, but just to float takes lots of power.

D

Bestest Billionaire Ever (1)

Kilo Kilo (2837521) | about 6 months ago | (#45173665)

Seriously, even though this project is kind of pointless aside from the cool factor, everything else he's involved in just reeks of eccentric billionaire tycoon.

I'll build my own rocketships. I'll mass produce my own electric car. I'll design some whacky futuristic train.

He's the closest thing we'll ever get to Tony Stark.
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