Rocket tech is awesome, but is it safe for road cars?
Just as the industry gets its head around the just unveiled second-gen Tesla Roadster, CEO Elon Musk has made yet another revelation that’ll certainly raise eyebrows. Instead of being live on stage, Musk took to Twitter to “clarify that this (the new Roadster) is the base model performance. There will be a special option package that takes it to the next level.” As if 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds isn’t already ridiculously fast. Fast enough, in fact, to make the new Roadster the fastest production car in the world when it launches in 2020.
Honestly though, how much faster does one need to go? What about safety? Musk continued: “Not saying the next gen Roadster special upgrade package *will* definitely enable it to fly short hopes, but maybe… Certainly possible. Just a question of safety. Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities.” Based on Tesla’s history of performance upgrades, no one should doubt Musk’s intentions, but rather that 2020 launch date for the “base model.” Model 3 “production hell” has yet to be resolved. Remember, the Model 3 is Tesla’s first mainstream and affordable model. Assuming it’ll be profitable, Roadster development, as well as that of the also new Semi truck and upcoming pickup truck, could easily fall behind schedule.
We could also see safety regulators having a problem with a production vehicle that can blast to 250 mph without breaking a sweat. So what about a Roadster with Ludicrous Mode? Fast? Oh yeah. Safe? Unknown. There’s a limit to many things. For Elon Musk, when that road performance and speed limit strikes, he fortunately has another option. It’s called SpaceX.