Tesla has taken the world by storm with their impressive car technology, and the company’s massive success continues as they offer cars at varying price points — both for the average joe and the serious car enthusiast. This news concerns the latter, and the internet is abuzz after the recent reveal of the next generation Tesla Roadster. CEO Elon Musk announced that the Tesla Roadster speed can reach 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds. When the car releases in 2020, it’s set to be the fastest factory car in the world, but are these claims really true? Experts remain skeptical of whether or not the Tesla Roadster is truly as powerful as Musk claims.
YouTuber Jason Fenske, an engineering expert and overall science nerd, broke down the science of car acceleration to determine if the Tesla Roadster speed was really as fast as Musk claimed.
The first thing to take into consideration is whether or not the quoted time is based on the car being completely at rest, or if it includes the industry-standard one-foot acceleration. This standard is based upon how NHRA drag strips work, and it’s generally more acceptable to compare cars using this measurement than when a car is at a dead stop. Believe it or not, this extra foot could make all the difference when talking about accelerations measured in fractions of a second.
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Another aspect to talk about when it comes to acceleration is the tires. Fenske has previously mentioned that even the stickiest sports tires on the market couldn’t accelerate faster than 2.05 seconds. If Tesla plans for their Roadster to accelerate in under two seconds, they had better have some serious tire tech up their sleeves.
It’s possible, however, that the Roadster will feature some sort of new technology that doesn’t even rely on the tires for acceleration. Elon Musk had jokingly mentioned strapping rockets to the car — but in all seriousness, there needs to be some serious advancements in technology if the Roadster speed plans to break that two-second mark. Perhaps rockets aren’t really out of the question.
The video from Fenske below attempts to explain how the Tesla Roadster speed might work. Fair warning: it’s incredibly complex and math-heavy; it gives good insight, however, into whether CEO Elon Musk’s claims are really possible.
It will be a couple of years before we can determine whether or not the Tesla Roadster lives up to these sky-high expectations, but unless the company has some serious new technology up their sleeves, it’s looking a little unlikely. With that said, Fenske has shown that it is technically possible. It just remains to be seen whether the Roadster will be the first car to deliver on that promise.