Elon Musk plans to equip a new version of the Tesla Roadster with “around 10 small rocket thrusters arranged seamlessly around car,” he said in a tweet, adding that this arrangement will substantially improve the car’s acceleration, allow it to achieve higher top speed, and also improve braking and cornering. The status ends with “Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly.”
This version, unsurprisingly dubbed the SpaceX option package, will be, according to Musk, the finest car in history, never to be replicated.
CleanTechnica’s Steve Hanley reports the SpaceX version of the car would be able to reach 60 mph in 1.9 seconds and will have a top speed of more than 250 mph. As for range, the Roadster 2.0 would be able to drive for 600 miles on a single charge. The price tag is likely to be a quarter of a million dollars, which is much less than existing roadsters that fall short of the stated capabilities of the Roadster. However, as Hanley notes, these capabilities have yet to be demonstrated.
The purpose of the new version of the Roadster, according to Musk himself, is to take away the “halo crown” from gasoline cars in all aspects of performance. Indeed, he wants to make the Roadster better than the best car ever made, which to date is the McLaren F1, which Musk himself bought when he first made a lot of money. Now, he wants to dethrone the McLaren F1 by proving a purely electric car could outperform it.
To keep the car completely electric, Tesla would have to find a way around rocket fuels—and if we are to believe Musk, they already have. In the Twitter discussion that followed the thruster announcement, Musk suggested that using compressed air to power the thrusters would make sense, but added “We are going to go a lot further.” This is bound to keep fans guessing as they wait for the delivery of their pre-ordered Model 3, which has still not reached production levels of the promised 5,000 a week.
Besides the virtuoso headline-making tweet about the Roadster, Musk also hinted at a self-driving Tesla update coming later this year. In yet another tweet, responding to a Tesla driver complaining of the Autopilot, Musk said, “That issue is better in latest Autopilot software rolling out now & fully fixed in August update as part of our long-awaited Tesla Version 9. To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.”
|Irina Slav for OilPrice.com|