Power Players

Elon Musk: A version of Tesla Roadster will fly thanks to SpaceX technology

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Shanghai's Mayor Ying Yong attend the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019.
Aly Song | Reuters

To-do list, if you are Elon Musk: Replace petroleum-powered cars with electric Teslas. Build a city on Mars with SpaceX. Construct tunnels under Los Angeles to alleviate traffic congestion with The Boring Company. Connect the human brain to computers via Neuralink.

And now there's another to-do: Build flying Roadsters with rocket technology.

So says the billionaire tech CEO via Twitter.

On Wednesday, Musk tweeted a GIF of a car levitating, with blue light shooting from its wheels. With the animation he wrote, "the new Roadster will actually do something like this." The Roadster is Tesla's highest end supercar, with prices starting at $200,000, according to the Tesla website.

Technology YouTuber Marques Brownlee responded, "The thing is I feel like you're not joking."

To which Musk replied, "I'm not. Will use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats."

A Tesla with rocket technology would also be able to accelerate very quickly, according to Musk. "You can basically accelerate at the limit of human endurance," he says.

Tesla has nothing to add to Musk's tweet, a spokesperson for Tesla tells CNBC Make It.

But this is not the first time Musk has talked about flying Teslas. In 2017, Musk teased the possibility.

"Not saying the next gen Roadster special upgrade package *will* definitely enable it to fly short hops, but maybe … Certainly possible. Just a question of safety. Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities," he tweeted that November.

Musk is not alone in his pursuit of flying vehicles. Google co-founder Larry Page is also pursuing flying cars with Kitty Hawk, in which he is an investor.

In February, Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun told CNBC that flying cars could be in the air within five years.

"The reality is if you look at transportation as a whole, most of it stays on the ground. And the ground is very capacity limited… when you go in the air, the air is mostly free. And you are now at a point where we can make air-based transportation, like daily transpiration, safer, faster and also more cheaper actually, environmentally friendly, than on the ground," Thrun told CNBC at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

However, Musk's own The Boring Company, which is currently digging tunnels under Los Angeles, communicates skepticism: "To alleviate traffic...[o]ne option is to 'go up' with flying cars. However, flying cars have issues with weather, noise, and generally increase anxiety levels of those below them," the company's website says.

See also:

Flying cars will be in the air within five years, CEO of Larry Page-backed firm says

Elon Musk teases flying cars: 'Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities'

Larry Page's newest flying car is fit for one and operated by joystick

Kitty Hawk's one-seat flying car can be operated without a license

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This story has been updated to include a response from Tesla.

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