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Elon Musk teases next model Tesla Roadster could hover – and even have rockets
February 12, 2021
The next generation of Tesla cars could feature a futuristic new twist, tech billionaire Elon Musk has teased.
Speaking on Joe Rogan’s Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the SpaceX boss says that while the car of tomorrow might not fly exactly, it might not need roads.
“I want it to hover, and I was trying to figure out how to make this thing hover without, you know, killing people,” he said. “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.”
Whether the Back To The Future twist will actually feature in Tesla’s 2022 model remain to be seen, but Tesla buyers can certainly expect to see a Formula One style steering yoke protruding from their dashboard instead of a traditional steering wheel.
When Joe Rogan asked the Tesla boss if the unconventional steering interface would be street legal, Musk replied “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,” the host replied. “I like driving like this, resting my hand on the top of the wheel.”
But Musk promised that in the future, motorists won't need to do much actual driving: “Well, Autopilot is getting good enough that you won’t need to drive most of the time,” he said. “I find you can rest your hand on your knee… it works great.”
A representative from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told CNET’s Roadshow blog that they had not yet approved Tesla’s mini steering wheel and added that on first glance it "cannot determine if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.”
But the future may hold even wilder features from Tesla.
Back in 2018 Elon Musk playfully tweeted that a “SpaceX option package for new Tesla Roadster will include …10 small rocket thrusters arranged seamlessly around car.
"These rocket engines dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering. Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly …”
And this week he promised that the idea was still on his mind: ”At a minimum, I'm confident we could do a thruster where the license plate flips down, James Bond-style, and there would be a rocket thruster behind it, and that gives you three tons of thrust.”