The promise of rocket thrusters stuck to the back of the upcoming Tesla Roadster has to be one of the automotive industry’s strangest occurrences. The Roadster isn’t here yet, but Tesla hasn’t changed its plan to still offer this array of 10 booster rockets as an option for the upcoming sports car.
The idea of what an electric vehicle that gets extra propulsion not via more torque sent to the wheels is quite intriguing and we really don’t know a great deal about how exactly it will work. Sure, there have been racing cars with fans around the vehicle, but those were there for aero reasons, not providing extra forward motivation.
So how about strapping jet engines to the back of an electric vehicle? Do they actually give it a meaningful performance boost, or are they pointless to have? Well, Warped Perception’s Matt Mikka set out to answer just that and he created a very well made custom array featuring three small jet engines.
He first tried running the vehicle using the engines alone, and with two of them working, his Tesla Model S P85 could maintain about 60 mph (96 km/h) on the highway. Then he proceeded to test how big an effect they have on the EV’s straight line acceleration - he did runs just on electric power alone, as well as with all three engines at maximum thrust and his findings are interesting, but not surprising.
With the engines running, the vehicle was around one second quicker to sprint to sixty, although there were some variables that may have affected the result. However, the answer still seems to be that they do indeed improve acceleration, and shaving one second off the benchmark sprint time is still pretty impressive.