‘Without, you know, killing people.’
Elon Musk has said for years that he wants to offer a rocket thruster package to increase the already ludicrous speed of the second-generation Tesla Roadster. But now he says he’s considering using the thrusters to make the Roadster hover, too.
“I want it to hover, and I was trying to figure out how to make this thing hover without, you know, killing people,” Musk told Joe Rogan in a new episode of of the Joe Rogan Experience released Thursday. “Maybe it can hover like a meter above the ground, or something like that. If you plummet it’ll 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 Musk actually goes through with it when the new Roadster hits the market in 2022.
Musk has a history of pushing boundaries with Tesla’s cars, though he seems more willing lately to make choices that could force regulators to act. The redesigned Model S sedan and Model X SUV announced last month, for instance, each feature a U-shaped yoke steering wheel that was reportedly a surprise to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those new vehicles will also automatically shift between park, reverse, neutral, and drive.
Rogan asked Musk whether the steering wheel was legal in the new interview.
“Yeah, I mean they use a yoke in Formula One,” Musk said.
“Yeah, but you’re not on the highway in a Formula One car,” Rogan responded. “I like driving like this, resting my hand on the top of the wheel.”
“Well, Autopilot is getting good enough that you won’t need to drive most of the time,” Musk said. “I find you can rest your hand on your knee… it works great.”
In 2013, Musk bought James Bond’s submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me and pledged to make it transform. He still owns the car, but has not responded to repeated requests for comment about whether he’s achieved that goal.