Quicker Tesla Roadster Might Fly (“Short Hops”)

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This story about the Tesla Roadster was first published by Gas2.

Following the unexpected reveal of the next-generation Tesla Roadster last week, Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to emphasize to his faithful followers that the 0–60 time of 1.9 seconds quoted at that time is for the “base model.” Which leaves these intriguing questions unanswered:

  • How quick will the Roadster be when the upgrade package is added?
  • When will the upgrade be available?
  • How much will the performance upgrade cost?
  • Is the upgrade included in the price of the Founders Edition cars?

There are no answers to those questions at present, but given Elon’s habit of dribbling out bits of information over time, expect more news on this subject in coming months. Since the car is not even scheduled for production for another 3 years, there will be plenty of time for Musk to fill in such details (just as he did with the Model 3).

Tesla is known for offering performance upgrades, beginning with the Plus version of the Model S and continuing through Insane Mode to the top performance version available today — Ludicrous Mode. Since Musk is an avowed fan of the campy Mel Brooks spoof Spaceballs, most Musk watchers expect the performance version of the Tesla Roadster will be called Maximum Plaid. Elon has indicated as much a few times.

Will the upgrade include a larger battery? That seems unlikely, since the new Roadster already packs a 200 kWh battery into a chassis smaller than the Model 3. Past performance boosts have come via software upgrades that allow the battery to release more energy in short bursts.

Musk followed up his first tweet with another that is far more cryptic.

Rocket tech? Flying short hops? What in the world is Musk talking about? No one knows for sure (except Musk himself, of course, and perhaps JB Straubel or other top engineers at Tesla or SpaceX) but he spends a significant part of  his considerable brain power thinking about transportation issues and how to solve them.

Flying cars have been much in the news lately. Uber is pursuing a flying car program as is Workhorse and several other companies. The idea of being able to leapfrog over traffic congestion is highly appealing to many a futurist, not that a Roadster could legally or safely do that, right? Musk himself began talking earlier this year about using rockets from SpaceX to whoosh people from one side of the globe to the other in less than an hour. Could his “enable it to fly short hops” statement be related somehow?

That’s a stretch, but with Musk you can never be sure what ideas are flitting around in the back of his mind.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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