Elon Musk teases flying Tesla
Rocket-powered Roadster will use SpaceX technology to cruise the skies
Elon Musk plans to combine his car- and rocket-making skills to build a flying car, the owner of Tesla and SpaceX revealed in a tweet on Wednesday night.
For real, it seems.
The SA-born billionaire tweeted an animation of a flying and hovering DeLorean from the Back to the Future 2 movie, accompanied by the words “the new Roadster will actually do something like this.”
When a follower tweeted back “The thing is I feel like you’re not joking”, Musk answered: “I’m not. [The car] will use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the two rear seats”.
Musk added that the car will basically accelerate at the limit of human endurance, and would easily be able to cover a quarter-mile sprint in under eight seconds.
Musk had earlier announced that the new Tesla Roadster to be launched next year would have an electric motor complemented by small rocket engines to dramatically improve its acceleration, braking and cornering.
When first announcing the Roadster back in November 2017, the maverick billionaire said the base version would be able to do the 0-100km/h sprint in just 1.9 seconds - beating any petrol-engined supercar - along with a 400km/h top speed. He said there would also be a special option package that takes it to the next level by being “maybe be able to fly short hops.”
It seems that idea has now taken hold.
Several other automakers are working on drone-like flying vehicles that will use propellers to move through the sky, but Tesla’s the first to be looking at rocket thrusters.
“Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities,” Musk tweeted, adding that it was a question of safety.
Being able to fly over gridlocked traffic is the stuff of commuting dreams but a lot of legislation and safety controls will be needed before cars can take en masse to the skies.