As far back as anyone can recall, man has devised various tools to survive as a community. Our computers, cellphones, modes of transport, and record systems are now all electronic.
This is the digital age. We can no longer travel by horses or carriages but mostly by electronic means. It begs the question. Are electric cars EMP proof?
No, electric cars are not emp proof. Their ignition, navigation, and locomotion systems all rely on electricity. Zero electronics are your only absolute protection from an EMP, and there is no electric car without electricity. Electronic systems have become part of our modern-day vehicles.
What Is an Electromagnetic Pulse?
EMPs also known as transient electromagnetic disturbance, is a force that is powerful enough to short-circuit a wide range of electronics. These are bursts of electromagnetic energy. They can be naturally occurring, such as in lightning storms. They can also be man-made, for example, during a nuclear detonation.
Electromagnetic pulse blast has a varying effect on different cars as several tests have proven. Most interference caused by an EMP occurs in the car’s electronic systems. These include disruptions to radio signals, turn signals, head, and brake lights.
The reason for the variance in electronic interference in various vehicles is the car’s chassis. They function as a faraday cage.
A faraday cage is an earthed metal screen surrounding the electronics to protect it from electromagnetic charges. As chassis vary from car to car, so does the effectiveness of the shield against EMP also vary.
Will an EMP Knock Your Car Out?
The conventional belief is that if your car relies on electricity, it will suffer in the wake of an EMP attack.
This belief originates from the idea that cars built during and after the 1980s are not EMP-safe. However, real-world testing with EMP simulators has yielded different results.
Our Older model vehicles without electronic systems may or may not be damaged depending on the severity of the Electromagnetic pulse. However, they still have electrical systems that can be damaged. Although vehicles with purely compression-based engines and crank starting will be okay.
Additionally, cars can be jump-started even with a dead battery in some cases. However, this will not work if the car’s electrical system is damaged.
Electric cars require their computer systems to operate. EMP effects will seriously damage such cars, but so will most cars around the radius of the EMP blast. After an EMP blast, your electric car will not operate without significant repairs.
Here are some factors that may control the effect of an EMP on your vehicle.
- The size and height of the nuclear blast.
- Geographic and seasonal variations in the earth’s magnetic field at both the location of the blast and that of the Vehicle.
- The location and physical orientation of the Vehicle concerning the EMP blast.
- The amount and locations of the metal parts of the car.
- The number, position, and designs of the critical electronic systems inside the Vehicle.
- The length of wires and cables connected to the Vehicle’s electronics.
What Effect Does an EMP Have on a Tesla?
A Tesla depends on electronic systems for most of its functionality. For example, the ignition system and navigation, the self-drive feature, and a large part of its locomotion. It is not illogical to conclude that a strong enough EMP blast will hurt a Tesla to the point of inoperability.
However, because the car is not fully grounded, your vehicle may experience little to no damage. In the same way, birds can sit on power lines and not get electrocuted because of no potential difference. That is the same way a Tesla sits on rubber tires.
There would also be no potential difference enough to affect the electronic components of Tesla if adequate shielding of the electronics is available. This phenomenon explains why airplanes getting struck by lightning do not experience interruption to the electronic circuits.
Although to be 100% certain, Elon musk will need to be part of the discussion as Tesla does not run-on water. Tesla’s charge with a supercharger at a charging station. It is no good telling you that your vehicle is EMP-proof if the entire charging station itself is vulnerable to an EMP attack.
How to Protect Your Vehicles From an EMP?
Attach a surge tube to vulnerable components: You can protect your vehicle against an EMP by soldering a small surge tube across all vulnerable components of your electric vehicle.
A surge tube works by diverting unwanted current away from the heating element of your vehicle and into the ground line.
Construct a faraday shield garage: Another great option for protecting your vehicle against EMPs is constructing a faraday shield garage. You will not only be able to protect your vehicle safely but can store other electrical items that need protection from an EMP.
Faraday shields are full enclosures made of conductive and mesh materials. There are numerous ways to build a faraday cage, but the most common would be using an aluminum siding on a thin roof.
Purchase an EMP shield: Constructing a faraday shield garage is an excellent idea for protection against EMPs. But it is not the most cost and time-effective option. On the other hand, an EMP shield protects your car from EMPs immediately on installation.
The product has garnered lots of great reviews from buyers and is backed by an insurance policy in the case of malfunction. EMP shields divert excessive power from an EMP and direct it away from the rest of your vehicle’s battery and electrical system.
It is extremely difficult to determine an EMP event’s impact on a particular vehicle, including in electric cars. This is because there are lots of variables that directly impact the results.
With more technological advancements daily, Electric cars are becoming even safer. However, the presence of a vast number of electronic devices is a vulnerability.
Modern cars can depend on protective shielding for their cables, unavailable in the past. A course of action that is extremely effective in mitigating the effects of EMPs, as published in a report by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
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