This waterproof EV set a world record for underwater driving, with over 4 miles

At a depth of 100 feet, the drive took the team a total of 12 hours.
Sejal Sharma
Divers driving the Mud Crab
Divers driving the Mud Crab


A team of engineers, motorsport enthusiasts, and commercial divers have driven a waterproof electric vehicle into the water across Darwin Harbor’s shipping channel. Given that the underwater drive was more than 4 miles (7 kilometers) long and 100 feet (30 meters) deep, the team has claimed that they have set a new world record for the longest and deepest underwater drive.

This waterproof EV set a world record for underwater driving, with over 4 miles
The team celebrates

Their choice of vehicle was an orange 1978 Toyota LandCruiser which they had nicknamed ‘Mudcrab.’ The total drive took the team 12 hours, five more than planned, to reach Mindil Beach.

The 30 commercial divers, who were part of the team, took turns driving the car, changing their positions every 15 minutes because of underwater pressure.

The project took a year of planning

A similar feat was attempted in 1983 when a group decided to drive their Toyota Landcruiser underwater across the harbor. But the cruiser only made it halfway before it had to return, reported the Cosmos Magazine. The team aimed to surpass the journey of the group from 1983.

“For me, it was almost like folklore as I was growing up,” said Finn Davy, an engineer on the project. “When Glen (another engineer) and another student, Tom Lawrence, called and said they were doing the project, it just ticked every box: the adventure side of things and the technical nature. It was pretty exciting.”

“It was also a very ‘Darwin’ thing. You mention it in Newcastle, and people say, ‘why the hell are you doing that?’ You say it in Darwin, and people think it’s awesome.”

The team also had to be aware of the crocodiles swimming in the waters and navigating the underwater pipelines.

“I was stressing out a bit,” said Tommy Lawrence, the project lead, to The Guardian. “We had heaps of problems, certain sections of harbor were so muddy and silty we sank like a rock. We were bogging, winching, towing – all part of a four-wheel drive adventure but 30 meters underwater.”

The cruiser had an electric motor and motor controller

The team found the ‘mudcrab’ on Gumtree for $7,500. It took six months for the team to restore the Landcruiser, which, at the time of purchase, wasn’t road safe, the team told The Guardian.

It was fitted with a waterproof electric engine and 150kg water-filled tires. The motor, controller, and batteries were waterproofed by smearing them in silicon oil.

“We were building till the night before we put it in the water,” Lawrence added. “We pulled the motor out in Brisbane, had no money, and were building out of a shed and wherever we could.”

Finn Davy said the project was a testament to what can be achieved by a bunch of ordinary people in a backyard or shed without much financial backing; he told Cosmos Magazine.

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