Tesla Designs a Submarine Car

The proposed vehicle is modeled after the Lotus Esprit used in the James Bond film, "The Spy Who Loved Me."

If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ve certainly seen the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me. You’d also know that there is literally no way that Bond could adequately investigate the disappearance of British and Russian submarines without at least a basic submarine car.

So the movie incorporated an amphibious vehicle that could drive on both land and sea, played by a modified 1976 Lotus Esprit.

The Wet Nellie, as it was nicknamed, was auctioned off in 2013 for about $1 million, and its buyer was none other than the notorious innovator Elon Musk, who said seeing Bond drive the Esprit off a pier and press a button to transform it into a submarine was “the coolest thing (he had) seen in a movie.”

And if you’re Elon Musk and you think something is cool, you will go the ends of the earth to make it viable in real life — just look at Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, The Boring Company … you get it.

That’s why it’s fun, and not exactly surprising, that Elon Musk recently revealed to a group of shareholders that Tesla actually has a design for a submarine car like the one from the famous film.

Musk acknowledges that this endeavor would be difficult. We agree. It would involve, he says, upgrading the Lotus Esprit with a Tesla electric powertrain and may only result in an eventual “show car.”

If it were ever to be commercially available the market, he says, would be “small but enthusiastic.”

— Anna Wells

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