Tesla Roadster Development Slowed But Musk Says Rocket Thrusters and Hover Capability Possible

The long-anticipated Tesla Roadster, which is actually a coupe, has taken a back seat as Tesla prioritizes other projects. While saying the Roadster is worth waiting for, chief designer Franz Von Holshausen says “mass electrification” is the company’s main goal now. As the Roadster was anticipated to have limited sales, Tesla is shooting for bigger and better markets for the time being

What is Tesla developing instead of the Roadster?

Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster prototype | Tesla

Von Holzhausen made the comments on the Ride the Lightning podcast. “We’re developing the car,” he said. “I think you know we have priorities as a company, and the priorities are mass electrification. And Roadster is not a mass product. 

“So, unfortunately, you know it takes its kind of position, but we are working on it in earnest. And I think the time that we’ve taken has enabled us to really improve on basically every metric that we set out to establish when we first debuted it.” At the unveiling of the Tesla Semi EV in November 2017, it also revealed the Roadster. So for the math impaired, that was over five years ago. 

Will the Tesla Roadster have rocket thrusters?

Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster prototype | Tesla

It’s a common thread with all new products at Tesla. Development times take way longer than anticipated and expected. Too long, to be honest. But in waiting for maybe the next two or three years, there may be some advantages.

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the beginning of 2021, the Roadster will have a cold-gas SpaceX thrusters option, for added acceleration. But he also said Tesla was working on attaching thrusters underneath the Roadster. I want it to hover,” he said on a Joe Rogan podcast. “I’m trying to figure out how to make this thing hover, without, you know, killing people. 

How high would the Tesla Roadster hover?

Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster prototype | Tesla

“I thought, maybe we could make it hover, but not too high. So maybe it could hover, like, a meter above the ground, or something. So, if you plummet, you blow out the suspension, but you’re not going to die. Maybe, I don’t know, six feet. If we put a height limit on it, it will probably be fine.”

Adding the SpaceX option, should it actually come to fruition, limits seating from four down to two, with the back seat removed for the necessary components. These would include a “high-pressure carbon overwrap pressure vessel,” and the thrusters. The vessel would have a 10,000 PSI capacity.

When will the Roadster debut now?

Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster prototype | Tesla
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Watch: Tesla Roadster With Rocket Thrusters Rips the Pavement

“At a minimum, I’m confident we could do a thruster where the license plate flips down, James Bond-style,” Musk said. “And there would be a rocket thruster behind it, and that gives you three tons of thrust.” Exactly what you need!

As for the Roadster’s ongoing development, Von Holzhausen said that it’s going through a second round of development, while not speculating on a release date. Tesla intends to go for more functionality and better overall numbers. And, hopefully, finding a way to make it hover, for whatever sense that makes.