Elon Musk has doubled down on the outrageous performance claims he’s made in the past regarding Tesla’s long-promised next- generation Roadster electric supercar. In recent social media posts, the billionaire CEO stated that Tesla has “radically increased the design goals” for the Roadster to achieve a 0-60 mph acceleration time of under one second.

Yes, you read that correctly. Musk is claiming that the all-electric 2+2 convertible will rocket from 0-60, the faster acceleration reached by any production car in history by a massive margin. So let’s break down this latest boast and analyze if such a feat is even remotely possible.

Musk Revises Roadster’s Acceleration Targets, Again

On February 28th, Musk made a series of typically brash statements on the social media platform X about revising the Roadster’s performance targets, resulting in specs that he claims will be unmatched.

comments from elon musk regarding the roadster on x

“There will never be another car like this, if you could even call it a car,” he stated, adding that Tesla is collaborating with his rocket company SpaceX on achieving these new goals.

When asked by a follower whether this means a sub-two second 0-60 time, Musk dropped a bombshell: “0-60 mph <1 sec.” He even went added that this acceleration rate would supposedly be “the least interesting part” of the new Roadster’s promised performance.

This represents a staggering upgrade from Tesla’s original claims during the Roadster’s 2017 launch. Back then, Musk touted a 1.9- second 0-60 mph sprint which was already ludicrously fast. He has since revised that figure multiple times, once saying 1.1 seconds to 60 in 2021. However, his latest sub-one-second assertion is taking the usual Tesla hype to stratospheric new levels.

If factually accurate, this acceleration clip would shatter the existing production car record of 1.66 seconds, set by the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 according to records compiled by Autoblog. It would also smoke purpose-built electric hypercars like the Rimac Nevera, which hits 60 mph in just 1.74 seconds.

So, in typical Elon fashion, he has reset the bar ludicrously high in order to hype up Tesla’s halo performance car despite the vehicle being still years away from production. Is such an extreme claim actually feasible? Let’s dig deeper.

Experts Highly Skeptical of Sub-One-Second Feat

Industry analysts, engineers, and electric vehicle experts have met Musk’s latest declaration about the Roadster with intense skepticism. Most view a sub-one second 0-60 time as essentially unattainable for a street-legal production automobile.

“While not outright impossible, such an acceleration rate would require immense power and torque to overcome traction limitations” notes one technical review. Even middling sports cars with a fraction of the speed of Tesla’s proposed Roadster have trouble putting all of their power down to the wheels, leading to what is called “wheel spin” and “wheel hop” where the force turning the wheels is greater than the friction between the wheel and the ground.

dodge charger wheelspin

This means that the power isn’t going into pushing the car forward, making the car slower and burning up the tires. Generating the bursts of energy needed to reach such speeds without instantly lighting up tires is an immense engineering challenge. However, Musk likely means that the 1 second 0-60 time is in perfect conditions (like all of Tesla’s stated 0-60 times) with the best possible tires for acceleration on a sticky drag strip.

The current EV acceleration king, the Rimac Nevera, relies on four separate motors to channel its 1,914 horsepower. Yet, despite bespoke traction control systems, it still takes the Croatian supercar 1.74 seconds to hit 60 mph. Shaving off nearly 3 quarters of a second second from that clip is a staggering task to achieve, even for the geniuses at Tesla (TSLA).

Likewise, actually harnessing that power and speed while maintaining any semblance of control requires next-level engineering: “Tire grip and chassis stability at those speeds are also significant hurdles”, experts note. Not to mention the intense G-forces inflicted on occupants.

The Role of Rocket Boosters

In response to the intense skepticism, Musk fanboys point to his previous remarks about adding cold gas thrusters to the Roadster. Essentially miniature rocket engines, these could provide extreme forward thrust for acceleration bursts.

tesla spacex hypercar concept

However, experts note that introducing rocket boosters to a road car carries a host of challenges. The most obvious is the need for heavy shielding to protect occupants as well as critical components from intense heat and debris. However, Musk specified “cold gas” thrusters, which use inert gas propellants like compressed air or nitrogen gas to generate thrust.

While safer, cold gas systems provide relatively low specific impulse, meaning that the Roadster would need large onboard reservoirs of compressed gas. Refilling these tanks post-launch would be highly inconvenient for owners. There are also safety considerations around volatile stored gases and structural integrity operating under intense pressures.

Musk’s plan may simply be to build the top Roadster trim as an all-out speed demon with rocket boosters and whatever else he can find to make it faster and only build a handful of them to market lower trims of the Roadster. This seems much more likely than beating every other automaker by an absurd margin without a massive leap in technology.

In summary, most analysts view Musk’s sub-one-second Rocketeer-style Roadster as firmly in the territory of fantasy rather than reality. Even with rocket assistance, the barriers of traction, stability, passenger safety, and repeatability seem insurmountable.

Also read: SpaceX, Tesla Execs Accuse Elon Musk of Illegal Drug Use Yet Again: Are They Right?

Musk’s History of Overpromising on Tesla Vehicles

Elon Musk has a long history of spurring excitement and securing deposits by touting eye-popping performance metrics for upcoming Tesla vehicles. The recently released Cybertruck is a prime example… and cautionary tale when it comes to taking his claims at face value.

Announced in 2019, Musk hyped the Cybertruck as starting under $40,000, delivering 500+ miles of range, towing 14,000+ pounds, and sprinting 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds. The 2023 production truck failed spectacularly to match any of those specs.

In reality, the cheapest Cybertruck starts at nearly $60,000. Towing maxes out at 11,000 pounds. Range peaks at 300 miles and acceleration ranges from 6.5 to 4.5 seconds depending on configuration. This was not exactly what reservation holders were promised (though it’s admittedly still a good EV truck).

Also read: Did Tesla Lie? Critics Question Cybertruck’s Touted Speed and Range

This pattern of overpromising and underdelivering features prominently across Tesla’s history with other models like the Model 3, Model Y, and second-gen Roadster itself being among those that failed to live up to Musk’s bold pre-release claims.

Hence, industry watchers warn that users should take any performance metrics touted by Musk around unreleased Tesla models with an extremely skeptical eye. The CEO has consistently struggled to back up his braggadocio once production cars roll off assembly lines.

Tesla Roadster Timeline and Other Wild Claims

Assuming it escapes vaporware status, the Tesla Roadster carries an immense burden of unmet expectations dating back years. First unveiled as a concept in 2017, Musk originally promised that deliveries would begin in 2020 after the Model Y launch.

Yet, here we are in early 2024 with no hint of actual Roadster validation prototypes, let alone pre-production evaluation units being put to the test. In typical Tesla fashion, the launch timing has been pushed back every single year. Musk now claims that the final production design will be revealed by the end of 2024, with deliveries hoped to start sometime in 2025… although many analysts peg 2026 or later as a more realistic timeline.

In addition to the fanciful acceleration figures, Musk has made many other outrageous claims regarding the Roadster’s capabilities over the years that have raised eyebrows, including these:

  • 1,000+ horsepower.
  • 250+ mph top speed.
  • 620 miles of range.
  • Removable glass roof stowed in the trunk.
  • “SpaceX option package” with cold gas thrusters for enhanced acceleration, braking, and cornering forces.

Add up this combination of stellar speed, range, styling, and handling with a six-figure price tag, it’s no wonder why Musk deemed the upcoming Roadster reveal as potentially “the most mind-blowing product demo of all time” in his recent tweets.

That’s quite the towering bar he’s set for Tesla’s engineering corps. As seen by the Cybertruck’s failure to deliver users’ widely-awaited mind-blowing specs, Musk’s unconstrained promises hardly instill confidence in eventual reality.

Expert Predictions on Tesla’s Roadster Down-to-Earth Specs

Setting aside Elon’s relatively unreliable word, what can one realistically expect from the Roadster if it reaches showrooms in this decade? Can it truly challenge established supercar elites like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and now Rimac in the rarified air of hypercars?

Based purely on the numbers, the Roadster’s previously stated specs stack up brilliantly against fuel-powered seven-figure exotics:

  • 3-second (or better) 0-60 mph acceleration matches or beats vehicles costing multiple times more. A possible all-wheel drive tri-motor powertrain could supply necessary grip.
  • 8-second (or quicker) quarter mile dispels notions that EVs can’t launch hard from a standstill.
  • 250+ mph top speed is theoretically possible with an intense engineering focus on aerodynamics, low drag coefficient, and stability.
  • 600+ mile driving range on a charge would crush any rival as the highest range EV in the world. Rumored 200+ kilowatt-hour battery packs could get there.

While Elon’s latest sub-one-second claims probably belong to Joe Isuzu’s fantasyland, a ten-second quarter-mile Roadster with Bugatti-beating metrics seems attainable for Tesla. Even if $200,000 only buys you half that in reality, it would still rank as an electrifying accomplishment.

And who knows? Maybe the ‘Techno king’ has an ace up his finely tailored sleeve courtesy of rocket maestros over at SpaceX. We’ll have to wait for that “mind-blowing” unveiling to find out. But no matter what magic Tesla conjures up, all claims around this mythologized halo car should be fact-checked twice over.