This is one feature Musk is refusing to back down on.
The Tesla Roadster is arguably one of Elon Musk's most highly anticipated promises for the future, and with a new launch date being announced, people want to know what else they can expect from the car besides insane acceleration. In a new episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Spotify, Musk has explained some of his plans for the car, and they're highly ambitious. Along with telling Rogan that he expects that 2022 launch goal to be achieved, Musk also said: "We're going to throw some rocket technology in that car". He was referring to the possible SpaceX package that is expected to be offered, but he also wants to put thrusters under the car.
Musk elaborated on this incredible vision by saying: "I want it to hover. I'm trying to figure out how to make this thing hover, without, you know, killing people. 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."
He recognizes the potential safety issues, hence the relatively low hovering height he proposed, saying that if the car does plummet, the worst that could happen to occupants would be a hard landing that would damage the suspension but little more. "If we put a height limit on it, it will probably be fine." The idea of a flying car is not a new one, but this could be a more attainable middle ground between ground-operating vehicles and full-on flight in an automobile.
Obviously, Rogan wanted to know if it would just be a partypiece, asking if it would be possible for the Roadster to travel while suspended in the air, to which Musk simply replied, "Yeah." He also said that it would be "pretty fast" but that there would have to be time limits on how long the car could remain in the air. Assuming legislation allows such a thing to be made legal, the upgrade would also rob your Roadster of its rear seats, as they would be replaced by a high-pressure carbon overwrap pressure vessel containing gas pressurized to "around 10,000 psi".
But as challenging as this may be to get right, Musk says the thrusters behind the car should be possible: "At a minimum, I'm confident we could do a thruster where the license plate flips down, James Bond-style, and there would be a rocket thruster behind it, and that gives you three tons of thrust." It's an exciting new world out there.