Tesla’s product roadmap announced at the January 2022 earnings call was a bit disappointing for many because it confirmed that the Cybertruck, Semi and Roadster would not launch this year.
While Elon Musk said the Cybertruck and Semi would “hopefully” launch in 2023, the Roadster didn’t even get an estimated launch date.
Reservation holders need not despair, though. Tesla chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, said the carmaker is “working feverishly” on the Roadster. He provided a rather unexpected update on the Roadster program on Spike’s Car Radio podcast.
“We are working on the Roadster. I wish we were working faster, but I’d like to also say that, in the time that we have been developing it, we have also been learning a lot. Plaid is a great learning platform. All those experiences will, you know, make their way back into a much better Roadster than had we launched right after when we debuted it.”
By “Plaid,” he was obviously referring to the tri-motor powertrain fitted to the Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid. When Tesla first unveiled the second-generation Roadster in 2017, it said the Roadster would use a tri-motor powertrain. According to von Holzhausen, the Tesla Roadster prototype people saw in 2017 will evolve into something really special.
“So yeah, continuous improvements on that. It will be an amazing, exciting flying machine with the SpaceX package. So yeah, stay tuned. No products can come fast enough from us for the public, but rest assured we are working on it feverishly.”
The SpaceX package the designer referred to adds cold air thrusters around the vehicle to improve performance, as confirmed by Elon Musk in January 2021. At the time, the CEO said the package could boost the Tesla Roadster’s already insane performance, announcing a 0-60 mph time of just 1.1 seconds.
Will this package allow the Roadster to actually fly, though? The “exciting flying machine” bit certainly suggests that, but Musk said in the past that the Roadster would be able to achieve “short hops,” so that’s likely what von Holzhausen was referring to as well.
When asked by the podcast’s host whether Tesla is considering a flying car, von Holzhausen said the “third dimension, getting off the roads and into the air, is pretty hard to manage.” However, in the case of the Roadster, he said that “defying gravity is an interesting idea.“