The Tesla Roadster will come with pressurized air thrusters instead of its two rear seats, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Wednesday. In a series of tweets responding to fan questions, Musk went on to explain that a model of the upcoming 2020 electric sports car will use small bottles of cold gas to potentially boost its acceleration speeds to levels that are practically unheard of in a commercially available car.
What started as a tweeted GIF of an animated DeLorean time machine a la Back to the Future transformed into a thread of juicy details about a long-rumored Tesla model. It’s now safe to say that the “SpaceX Option Package” Musk has teased in the past is definitely happening, and Musk claims it’ll be capable of ripping through a quarter mile in less than eight seconds.
In two hours, the original tweet garnered 62,000 likes and 8,700 replies, many of which were questions. In thread after thread, Musk dropped a litany of new predictions about his upcoming super-car.
One Twitter user asked if the Roadster would be able to fly, to which Musk responded with only a winky face. But in another reply, this one to the YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee, Musk also assured everyone that he’s definitely not joking.
Back in June, Musk said that the Roadster’s SpaceX Option Package would include around 10 small rocket thrusters “seamlessly” arranged around the vehicle. These wouldn’t be mini-Falcon 9s, the car would use high-pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel, with the air immediately replenished by the vehicle when the power draw allows.
In theory, this could enable a boost in acceleration, braking, and turning if the small rockets fire in the opposite direction the car is moving. This would be unspeakably cool, though the downside would be a lot of noise. Musk has already cautioned against whipping the potential SpaceX-inspired Roaster in cities.
Of course, this doesn’t mean all of the next-gen Tesla Roadsters will come with rockets included. Much like the Model 3, the new Roadsters are expected to come in three variants, meaning your rockets will almost certainly cost extra.
As it stands Tesla’s new sports vehicle is expected to cost somewhere in the ballpark of $200,000 for a baseline model, while a limited edition “Founders Series” option is expected to cost as much as $250,000. Since the SpaceX Option Package technically includes aerospace technology, it’s safe to assume it’ll be the most expensive of the three.