What to Know About Tesla's SpaceX Roadster That Elon Musk Claims Will Fly

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed more details about a rocket-powered version of the company's Roadster sports car after a prototype arrived at a car museum in California this week.

The base version of the Roadster is expected to start production some time in 2022, priced at $200,000. But a price or release date for a so-called SpaceX version—named after Musk's rocket company—remains unclear.

The Roadster was first unveiled as a concept back in 2017. Since then, performance figures such as acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds and a top speed in excess of 250 miles per hour have been claimed.

Tesla officially cites these figures on its website, claiming the Roadster will be "the quickest car in the world." The car—which is all electric—will also have a range of 620 miles, the company states.

But the Roadster's performance figures are perhaps side-lined by the fact that Musk has claimed the car will be able to fly if customers decide to purchase an optional SpaceX rocket thruster package.

Musk alluded to this back in November 2017, stating that there would be a "special option package that takes [the Roadster] to the next level," and teased the idea of rocket technology that might enable it to "fly short hops".

Not saying the next gen Roadster special upgrade package *will* definitely enable it to fly short hops, but maybe …

Certainly possible. Just a question of safety. Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2017

Now, in a series of tweets posted Thursday, Musk has doubled down with conviction on his claims the Roadster's upgrade package will enable it to fly, after a prototype arrived at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

In a tweet posted early Friday morning, the Tesla CEO said: "This will actually be able to fly very briefly. I always laughed at flying cars and now [I'm] making one."

This will actually be able to fly very briefly. I always laughed at flying cars & now making one. Fate 🖤 irony haha.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2021

In a couple of other tweets Thursday, Musk confirmed the Roadster would have thrusters attached to it which would be able to boost the car's acceleration, allowing it to go from zero to 60 in 1.1 seconds.

"It will be safe, but very intense," he said. "Probably not wise for those with a medical condition—same as a hardcore roller coaster."

Yes, with the SpaceX rocket thruster option package. It will be safe, but very intense. Probably not wise for those with a medical condition – same as a hardcore roller coaster.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2021

A photo of what appears to be a plaque on the Roadster's Petersen museum stand, purportedly taken Thursday by an attendee, has been circulating on Twitter.

It explains the SpaceX package will make use of cold air rocket thrusters attached to the rear of the car. In 2019, Musk tweeted the thrusters could be powered by a high-pressure air tank placed where the rear seats would normally go. Beyond that, details of the Roadster's flight mechanics are unclear.

So I guess it’s now kinda official that the Space X package Roadster does a 1.1 second 0-60mph 🤯🤯🤩. Wow @elonmusk #Tesla #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/s7AibLkDmm

— Zack (@BLKMDL3) May 20, 2021

In any case, the road legality of a car that can fly or use thrusters is unclear. Musk briefly addressed the issue in a 2019 tweet, stating "I don't think the law fully anticipated this situation."

Newsweek had contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for comment.

Elon Musk speaking
Elon Musk speaking in Hawthorne, California, December 2018. The Tesla CEO has claimed the SpaceX version of the company's roadster will fly. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty