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Elon Musk's flying car: What we know of the upcoming Tesla Roadster

Elon Musk is doubling down on his claim that the upcoming Tesla Roadster can fly.

May 22, 2021 / 12:56 PM IST

What happens when you put a guy who can build electric cars in the same room as a guy who can build rockets? What happens when both those guys are called Elon Musk? You get an electric car which is capable of flight.

In yet another case of Elon Musk vs the laws of physics, the maverick billionaire claimed not too long ago, that the upcoming Tesla Roadster will be flight capable. When most people assumed it was Musk being his usual flippant self on Twitter, Musk assured them that he was in fact, being very serious.

He explained that the limited edition version of the upcoming Tesla Roadster will come with a “SpaceX” option package which will include not one but “10 rocket thrusters, arranged seamlessly around the car”. Musk even revealed that the rocket thruster-laden option will hit 0-100kph in 1.1 seconds.

Of course, this prompted concerns regarding the safety of such an undertaking. Musk was quick to reassure (as reassuring as Elon Musk can be on Twitter) in response to a query, saying “Yes, with the SpaceX rocket thruster option package.

It will be safe, but very intense. Probably not wise for those with a medical condition – same as a hardcore roller coaster.” Musk had previously stated that one could “basically accelerate at the limit of human endurance”.

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As it turns out, a roller coaster capable of flight. Musk also said, on Twitter, that “This will actually be able to fly very briefly. I always laughed at flying cars and now making one” adding that it was indeed ironic. This isn’t the first time Musk has made such a claim, having teased us with the notion back in 2019. When Youtuber Marques Brownlee responded with incredulity, Musk confirmed nonchalantly that the roadster will use “SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats”. Y’know, as most flying cars do.

The Roadster, due for launch in 2022, is the successor to the car that built the Tesla brand. The original Roadster was one of the first production EVs to popularise the use of lithium-ion batteries and unsurprisingly also prove that EVs could be really, really quick. The upcoming version, would surpass the original Roadster and every other Tesla, including the upcoming tri-motor Model S (due in the first week of June, 2021) in terms of outright acceleration. With a price tag of Rs 2.6 crore (minus taxes) the SpaceX version would surpass every Tesla in the price department as well.
Parth Charan is a Mumbai-based writer who’s written extensively on cars for over seven years.
first published: May 21, 2021 04:31 pm

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