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No joke: Elon Musk explains Tesla Roadster rocket thrusters

by Justin King

The system will center around cold gas thrusters, driven by compressed air stored in pressure tanks.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was apparently not joking when he mentioned using rocket technology in the next-generation Roadster.

The executive envisions a system that uses cold gas thrusters, borrowing technology used on SpaceX rockets to maneuver the second stage.

Pressure for the thrusters will be generated on-board via electric air pumps and composite-overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs).

"The air exiting the thrusters would immediately be replenished whenever vehicle pack power draw allowed operation of the air pump, which is most of the time," Musk wrote on Twitter. "Total energy stored even in ultra-compressed air is low vs battery, but power output is insane."

Thrusters could help the car accelerate faster, carry more speed into corners and brake faster. Musk said the upgrade package could even enable the car to "fly short hops ... maybe." Even without thrusters, the Roadster is expected to hit 62 mph in just 1.9 seconds.

Intent of new Tesla Roadster is to beat gas sports cars on every performance metric by far, no exceptions, thus transferring the "halo crown" effect gas cars have as the top speed leaders over to pure electric.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 10, 2018