Tesla Roadster: Elon Musk confirms the new Tesla Roadster WILL be rocket-powered using SpaceX technology

Elon Musk is never one to do things by half and it appears his claims of building a rocket-powered Tesla Roadster last year weren’t to be taken as a joke. Speaking on Twitter, he confirmed that the rockets would actually be powered by SpaceX technology and would result in the Tesla Roadster’s rear seats being removed to allow for the technology to fit.

Musk initially referred to these boosters as “small rocket thrusters” but, in a tweet elaborating upon earlier claims, he stated it would be a “composite overwrapped pressure vessel” (COPV), instead of an actual rocket. This means that a bottle containing high-pressure air will be used to add thrust to the car without actually strapping a rocket to the back of your vehicle – something that’s probably not going to make your car zero-emission.

Tesla’s COPV solution for the performance model of Tesla Roadster will pump air from the car’s battery and will refuel the system automatically, so it’ll still technically be all-electric. To help compensate for the extra power draw, Tesla is designing a new 200kWh pack that can put out a maximum of 600 miles of range on a single charge.

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Musk has aspirations to place these boosters all around the car, not just on the rear of the vehicle for thrust. By using multiple systems, Musk hopes it can be used to decelerate the car and even provide thrust for sharp turns.

To help alleviate weight and space issues, Musk is going to remove the back seats from the Tesla Roadster. As he states, it’s “prob wise for many reasons”, such as not having kids in the back of a rocket-propelled hypercar…

Judging by Musk’s tweets, it looks as if you’ll only lose out on the backseats if you opt for the rocket-powered version of the Tesla Roadster. If you’d rather just have the standard car, which is still pegged to be capable of 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, you’ll get to keep those rear seats.

Tesla Roadster release date, price and features: Everything we know so far 

After months of teasers and tweets, Tesla finally unveiled its all-electric lorry in November last year and, at the same event, it upstaged it with something no one was expecting: an all-new Tesla Roadster.

As a remake of one of Tesla’s very first vehicles, the new Roadster has been kept under wraps for the past few months and from the outside at least, the Tesla Roadster continues the design language we’ve seen on the Model X, Model 3 and updated Model S, with a somewhat more aggressive edge.

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From dynamic-looking rear lights to a sharpened front end – complete with more pronounced wheel arches – the updated Tesla Roadster looks like the meaner cousin of the Model 3, and that can only be a good thing. It’s clearly the best looking car Musk’s company has ever made.  

Unlike the Model 3, the Tesla Roadster isn’t designed to try to replace our cheaper petrol cars with EVs. Instead, Tesla’s new car will be a halo product, with performance to beat even the fastest petrol production cars ever made. Musk called the new Tesla Roadster a “smackdown” to conventional car companies, and after taking a look at the specs, I think he has a point.

Musk stated the entry-level version of the Tesla Roadster would hit 0-60mph in under 1.9 seconds, which should make it the first sub-two-second production vehicle. The Tesla Roadster will hit 100mph 2.3 seconds later, and Musk says it’ll have a top speed of something like 250 mph. That’s not as fast the Koenigsegg Agera S, but with that acceleration, I don’t think anyone will mind.

The Tesla Model S is powered by a 200 kWh battery pack and three electric motors in total. The rear wheels are powered by one motor each, while the front wheels share power from another motor, and all three combine to give the new Roadster 10,000 Nm of torque – frankly ridiculous number. The Tesla Roadster’s range will top out at 620 miles or 1,000km too, though that’s almost certainly when you’re not using much of its performance.

Big response or a clever decoy?

There’s no denying the Tesla Roadster’s incredible performance, but the timing of the car is just as interesting as the technology inside it. Production delays mean Tesla has been on the back foot and depending on your confidence in the company, the Tesla Roadster can be seen as a fightback or a decoy.

Tesla is facing “production hell” with the Model 3, and the situation has put the company’s ability to make a high-volume product in doubt. Musk’s Tesla Roadster is amazing, but as a super low-volume hypercar, it doesn’t do much to change that thinking.

What’s more, the Tesla Roadster can be seen as an answer to the old guard making super fast EVs. A few weeks ago Lamborghini launched an all-electric EV concept, and McLaren, Nio and Porsche are all ready to release electric hypercars before the end of the decade. Those new cars have left the Tesla line up looking slightly less exotic, and the new Tesla Roadster re-addresses the balance.

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