American billionaire Elon Musk wants the new sports car of his company Tesla to hover above the ground.
The electric-car tycoon has said for years that he wants to utilize rocket technology to increase the already impressive speed of the second-generation Tesla Roadster. But now he says he’s considering using the technology to make the Roadster hover, too.
“I’m trying to figure out how to make this thing hover without, you know, killing people,” Mr. Musk said during a podcast. “I thought like maybe we could make it hover but, like, not too high, so like maybe it can hover like a meter above the ground or something like that,” he added. “If you plummet, you blow out the suspension but you’re not gonna die.”
It’s an extraordinary idea, and one that is sure to create a headache for safety regulators if Mr. Musk actually goes through with it when the new Roadster hits the market. Tesla has been working on an updated version of the Roadster, which is the company’s first mass-market electric car, for several years.
The Roadster would be able to move through the air while floating above the ground if the hovering experiments are successful. And even if the hovering doesn’t work out, the Roadster could still have rear thrusters that would make it “move like a bat out of hell” on the road, Mr. Musk said.
“At minimum I’m confident we could do a thruster where the license plate flips down, you know, James Bond-style, and then the rocket thruster behind it, and that gives you three tons of thrust,” he said.
The American company expects to finish engineering the Roadster model this year and hopes to start shipping it in 2022, according to Mr. Musk.