Is it possible or is the Tesla CEO barking up the wrong tree?

Elon Musk is no stranger to making bombastic claims. This is the same man who once said that autonomous driving technology was at our fingertips. He’s also the same man who said that civilian space travel is possible and traveling at supersonic speeds inside a pressure-sealed tube is the future of public transportation. Don’t look now, but Musk is at it again with a new proclamation that has everyone in the auto industry buzzing. According to him, the new Tesla Roadster, which is scheduled to debut in 2020, is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, becoming the first production car in history to reach that mark in less than two seconds.

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know enough about physics to properly answer that question. It’s only right then that I direct the question to Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained, a man who is far more qualified to talk about Musk’s latest claims about the Roadster’s acceleration speed.

Fenske didn’t exactly have the answer either, but that was more because of the lack of information from Tesla’s side. What he did explain was that it’s possible for the Roadster to do a 1.9-second, 0-to-60-mph, provided that it’s done under the right confluence of technology, all working together in perfect harmony. Fenske alludes to a number of important elements the Roadster needs to have to be able to live up to Musk’s claims, including the electric motor, the traction system, and most importantly, the tires.

Elon Musk Claims The Tesla Roadster Can Go From 0 to 60 Mph in 1.9 Seconds?
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Fenske alludes to a number of important elements the Roadster needs to have to be able to live up to Musk’s claims, including the electric motor, the traction system, and most importantly, the tires

Basically, the Roadster should have the latest versions of each of these elements if it’s going to break the two-second acceleration barrier. The electric motor, for example, will play an important role in ensuring that the car’s traction control system can get the tires closer to the threshold of their grip. Fenske explains that hydraulic ABS pumps aren’t capable of applying the exact amount pressure to help the tires reach the threshold of their grip. In theory, a traction control system that works in harmony with the tires is capable of doing that because it can adjust faster to the grip requirements of the tires that will allow them to burst off the line without losing energy in the process.

As an example, Fenske alluded to the Nitto drag radials that the tire maker co-developed with Dodge for the Challenger SRT Demon. Dodge says that the Demon can sprint from 0 to 30 mph in just one second so if those tires can keep up that kind of acceleration consistently over a longer period, a two-second, 0-to-60-mph is possible.

For good reason, even Fenske doesn’t have the answer to the question because Tesla itself hasn’t said anything about the Roadster apart from Musk’s claims. Until the Roadster is independently tested, all of Musk’s boasts about the Roadster’s ability to sprint from 0 to 60 mph are useless. Hopefully, the electric car maker can provide us with the answers sooner than later.

References

Tesla Roadster

2020 Tesla Roadster
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620 miles of range per charge

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

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