Why You Should Be Skeptical of Elon’s Tesla Roadster Claim

Why You Should Be Skeptical of Elon’s Tesla Roadster Claim

It has been nine months since the last time Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested the brand’s long-delayed Roadster was coming in a year. That means it is once again time for Tesla CEO Elon Musk to announce that the brand’s long-delayed Roadster is coming in a year, a task that Musk has dutifully fulfilled with his usual combination of hope and impossible-sounding details revealed in the replies to his tweets. The latest round of Roadster news comes with the most shocking suggestion yet: Musk claims the car can reach 60 mph in under a second.

If you are wondering how that is possible on street tires, it probably is not. The world record for quickest-accelerating EV on Earth belongs to a car that is 400 lb with a driver on board. That car reaches 60 in 0.956 seconds, barely scraping past the sub-second benchmark. The McMurtry Speirling, a million-dollar one-seater with extra grips from fans on board, reaches 0-60 in 1.4 seconds. A sub-second run to 60 is 30% faster.

When the new Roadster was originally unveiled all the way back in 2017, Tesla claimed the car could reach 60 in what seemed like an impossible 1.9 seconds. With the tire technology available at the time, math from Jas0n Fenske of Engineering Explained suggested that number was on the outer limits of possible. Tesla has since put out a sedan capable of 0-60 in just under 2 seconds, but the simple logistics of a logarithmic growth curve mean that getting under 1 second is twice as difficult a task. Getting to 60 that fast might actually require the rockets Musk joked about back in 2017.

Musk says the final Roadster will be revealed at the end of 2024 before shipping out in 2025. That would put deliveries more than seven years after the car’s initial debut in November of 2017, longer than the length of a generation of production for a typical premium automaker.

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