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We thought that Tesla founder Elon Musk was kidding when he tweeted about “rocket thrusters” being available on the new Tesla Roadster. But he isn’t. The car really does have thrusters as an option. And not only is Tesla thinking of rockets, but so is Ferrari. But first, let’s look at the Tesla thrusters in action against a non-rocket thrust Roadster.

Musk claims with rocket thrusters the Tesla Roadster can accelerate from 0-60 in 1.1 seconds

Tesla Roadster rear 3/4 view
Tesla Roadster | Tesla

When Rimac claimed that the Nevera was the world’s quickest accelerating road car, Musk was quick to reveal the whole rocket thruster deal. Rimac claims the Nevera can go from zero to sixty in 1.85 seconds. Musk claims that with the rocket thrusters, the Tesla Roadster can accelerate from zero to sixty in 1.1 seconds, and 1.9 seconds without. 

Now Slav Popovski has provided a simulation showing the difference between the two vehicles upon acceleration. The animation is based on the thrusters being engaged for 1.1 seconds according to insideevs. What becomes immediately evident is that the sinister gray Roadster is so much quicker than the red one. 

The cones indicate a quarter-mile to give some comparison of where each vehicle would be were they accelerating that quickly. You know, if this was an actual videotaped race rather than a visualization. Popovski used 3D StudioMax to create the simulation. 

Now Ferrari is in the rocket thruster party

Red Ferrari F8 Tributo rear 3/4 view on dark background
Ferrari F8 Tributo | Ferrari

Recently Ferrari’s patent for a “High-Performance Car with Gas Thrusters” was added to the U. S. Patent database. Reviewing the patent, it appears to be quite similar to Tesla’s rocket thruster setup. The system will incorporate compressed air thrusters for both assists with braking and acceleration. Compressed air tanks would be sprinkled inside the chassis in different locations.

Here’s what the patent says about those tanks, “… at least one compressed air tank and at least one gas pusher, which is connected to the compressed air tank, is integral to the frame and has a plurality of nozzles, which face outwards, can be activated in order to generate respective air jets, are arranged parallel to and beside one another, have the same orientation and are sized so as to generate different pneumatic thrusts give the same pressure of the compressed air flowing in …”

The Tesla Roadster is a bargain compared to the Nevera

Red Tesla Roadster front shot
Tesla Roadster | Tesla

While the Ferrari pulsejet system is or isn’t in development, Tesla’s Roadster is more concrete. It is estimated to sell for $250,000. That price is for the “Founders Series” and will be limited to 1,000 copies.

But Tesla plans on making many more than that. We don’t know how much the rocket thruster option will cost, but if we could pop for $250,000 then we’d go the extra cost and get those thrusters. There has never been anything like it, and the experience will be worth whatever it costs.

There was a time when physicists were able to show that cars would never be able to go faster than 125 mph. The current record stands at 763.035 mph by Andy Green in 1997. We include this because there will always be those who calculate this or that. But in reality, things can go much differently than numbers on paper. 

Updated: 6/5/2023


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