Elon Musk has been in the news for quite a while now. Recently, he announced a shocking plan regarding the Tesla Roadster. He said that he will be combining the technologies of his two companies – Tesla and SpaceX. Elon Musk has been planning to place Rocket Thrusters on Tesla Roadster models. According to Musk, the rocket thrusters will not combust rather it will produce pressurized cold air. The pressurized air will provide more acceleration to the Tesla. This idea may work technically but it is a bit risky too. The engineers are confused that the rocket thrusters will not be effective and that they are not legal on streets.
If we see the plan in detail, we can understand that Elon Musk is trying to include a key part of Falcon 9 Rocket into the Tesla. The tank is a Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV) made of thin metal wrapped in carbon fibers. They are used to store pressurized air in a small space. They are lightweight hence it can be used as a turbo in Tesla Roaster too.
Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV)
The COPV is used in the rockets inside the propellant tanks. It replaces the helium content in the propellant tanks and maintains it in shape. Some of the vehicles like buses, hydrogen-powered cars also use COPV. The buses use them to store the Compressed Natural Gas whereas Cars use it for hydrogen fuel cells. The air inside the COPV is used as a fuel for the vehicles.
But, Musk wants to do something extraordinary. He wants to use the COPV as thrusters to propel the vehicle. Further, it can be implemented on the sides for high-speed turnings at sharp corners. The researchers are concerned about the idea of safety and efficiency of the cars using rocket thrusters.
The latest model of Tesla Roadster is already one of the fastest cars in the world. It can accelerate at a speed of 0-60 in time of 1.9 seconds. With the fast acceleration, it also has an incredibly quick braking system. Researchers already are in a debate if any modern car tires can go any faster but Musk thinks differently. Adding the rocket thrusters will only increase the acceleration rate and braking efficiency. It will require a lot of power in the tanks and they will be huge too. Moreover, some researchers say that the tanks might produce extreme sound and change in temperature which might cause danger to other cars nearby.
Previously, many engineers have tried to use compressed air to power the vehicles. In 2013, two French companies announced their plan to build hybrid vehicles but the project was put on hold. Although the compressed air vehicles are environmentally friendly, they are not much efficient. They require a lot of energy for operation but Musk said he will employ an electric pump working with the Tesla’s battery. But, many researchers say that the battery will drain a lot more and it there will not be enough power to drive the car.
However, Musk claims that he has the idea and technology to drive the cars with these cold air thrusters. The only issue which will come to everyone’s mind is safety. However fast the car are, it depends on if it is safe for the people or not. If Elon Musk implement his plans successfully, Tesla can easily be the fastest vehicle ever on Earth.