Rimac CEO Responds To Musk’s Sub-1sec 0-60 Tesla Roadster Claims

Mate Rimac says a sub-second 0-60mph time is ‘possible’, but it comes with a caveat or three
Tesla Roadster
Tesla Roadster

In February, Tesla CEO Elon Musk broke a long spell of silence on the company’s upcoming and long-delayed Roadster supercar, which was originally revealed all the way back in 2017 and has yet to approach anything resembling production.

Musk took to his personal digital mouthpiece, X (formerly Twitter), to claim that the Roadster would arrive next year and that it would be capable of hitting 60mph in less than a second. That’s starting to close in on the pace of purpose-built drag racers, and most of us brushed it off as Musk’s usual empty posturing.

Now, though, the boss of Rimac, another company responsible for ludicrously high-performance electric vehicles, has chimed in on the debate and reckons it would be theoretically possible. There is a big ‘but’ attached, though…

Musk previously claimed in 2018 that the Roadster would have an optional ‘SpaceX Package’, which would add 10 small thrusters from his rocket company to the car for extra speed and manoeuvrability. He didn’t seem to have done anything to investigate the road legality of such an addition, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Following the acceleration claims, Mate Rimac, CEO of the Bugatti Rimac joint venture, was asked in the comments of a Facebook post about Bugatti's new V16 engine whether he felt the sub-second figure was realistically achievable. “It is possible with thrusters. We did the simulation,” was his response.

“Problem is,” he continued, “you release the air in two to three seconds and then you have a lot of dead weight that you are carrying around (tanks, compressor, valves, nozzles, etc.).” Rimac said that to achieve that number, “you need something like 30,000Nm [of torque] on the wheels” – around 22,000lb ft.

Rimac Nevera
Rimac Nevera

He also pointed out that the car would need to be incredibly light to achieve the figure, something that electric cars don’t tend to be, especially with the kind of motors required to produce that much power. Rimac’s own Nevera, despite a carbon fibre monocoque and body, weighs 2.3 tonnes. It’ll still do 0-62mph in a hardly sluggish 1.8 seconds and has the added bonus of, y’know, actually existing.

We’ll have to wait until next year to see if Tesla can actually deliver the thruster-equipped Roadster on time, and if it really will manage that sort of acceleration. Until then, we’ll be taking Musk’s claims with a big fistful of salt.


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