Future Cars

Elon Musk is 100 percent serious about Roadster thrusters

It's a wild idea, that's for sure.

Tesla Roadster

Musk will need to buy the rights to "zoom zoom" from Mazda if it's actually going to slap thrusters on this thing.

Tesla

Elon Musk has already promised some ridiculous capability from Tesla's forthcoming second-generation Roadster, but its biggest trick relies on a derivation of SpaceX tech, and it's wild.

Earlier, Elon Musk tweeted that there will be a "SpaceX option package" for the new Roadster that will equip it with multiple small thrusters for the purpose of aiding acceleration, deceleration and handling. It sounded like pure science fiction, but Musk is doubling down on his assertion that it's not just theorizing or the result of eating the wrong kind of mushroom.

In follow-up tweets, Musk pointed out that these thrusters won't be exactly the same as the ones on SpaceX's rockets. Rather, they'll rely on pressurized air that can be replenished through a pump connected to the car's electrical system. If it's true that the Roadster will pack more than 500 miles of range when it debuts, these thrusters shouldn't cause range anxiety if they (and the car) make it to production.

Musk did note one major drawback -- packaging. Should a buyer really want to slap thrusters onto their electric sports car, Musk said the system would have to replace the car's small rear seats, turning it into a true roadster instead of a 2+2 convertible.

Even without these ludicrous thrusters, the next-gen Tesla Roadster sounds mighty promising on paper. With a 0-to-60 time of 1.9 seconds and a quarter-mile sprint taking less than eight seconds, it would easily become the quickest vehicle on the market. It's slated for a 2020 launch, but I imagine some of that will hang on whether or not Tesla can meet its current production targets, which appears to be happening. The Roadster will be expensive at $250,000, and if you want one of the first off the line, you'll have to plunk down a cool $50,000 for a deposit.