The Tesla Model 'E' Is 'Coming,' An Electric Concorde Is Possible, And Other Things We Learned From Elon Musk

Illustration for article titled The Tesla Model 'E' Is 'Coming,' An Electric Concorde Is Possible, And Other Things We Learned From Elon Musk

Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk dropped in to answer reader questions (full interview here) on Jalopnik earlier today and, in the course of about 45 minutes, managed to break some actual news. We're going to bullet point it for you and let you discuss what it means in the comments.

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  • Musk thinks filling up an electric car will one day be "better" than filling up a gasoline-powered car.

    The next car after the Model X will be an "affordable" car, which we knew, and will maybe be called the Tesla Model E, which we didn't know. Either that or, as the commenters pointed out, he's making an elaborate sex joke.

    A Tesla supercar was supposed to happen after the Model X, but was moved back to "4 to 5 years" from now, hopefully.

    He apparently gets compared to Howard Hughes "a lot" and it makes him "want to check my finger nail length and curtail any urges to pee in a jar." Funny.

    A parent company for all of his ventures? It's possible.

    Our favorite part? His talk of a vertical takeoff/vertical landing supersonic electric jet:

    There is this airplane design that I've had in mind for about four years. It is a VTVL, supersonic electric jet. I started thinking about this when the Concorde was retired. It just seemed so sad that the world's only supersonic passenger aircraft would never fly again and there was nothing planned to replace it :(

What's the most newsworthy tidbit? What gets you excited?

Photo Credit: QSST

DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

I've had an idea for a VTVL, VTOL as its actually called, supersonic electric passenger jet too, I think it was right after my nap and before rugrats, but its been so long I forget. Seriously, its cool to always be thinking of neat ideas and all, but unless someone can show my otherwise, these concept seem out of line with reality, even Elon's reality.

1. Electric jet - Why? how is an electric turbofan/ducted fan more power dense or energy efficient than a HBTF (high bypass Turbofan) let alone a traditional axial flow jet. Also, where is the electricity coming from? if its Turbines, why not just use turbines for speed (or atomic batteries!) if its batteries (not the atomic type)...well its not going to be batteries, cause its just going to be way too heavy

2. Supersonic - hmm, there MAY be a way to compress air and gasses to produce supersonic levels of thrust with electric motors...but I can't for the life of me think how. An electric design would be based on ducted fans, since that's really the only technology for producing thrust with electricity that I know of, and ducted fans operate in relation to their size (think computer fans, or avengers super carrier or something) Supersonic airflow doesn't jive with large surface areas, and it REALLY doesn't jive with supersonic airflow over the blades (washout). So I just don't get how this is possible. Not to say its not worth pursuing, but...where to start?

3. VTOL - That parts possible, Ducted fans have very high good lift characteristics.

4. Supersonic noise - Well, that's what killed the concorde, too noisy to do anything but a few routes, couple that to the fact that its very expensive to maintain and you can't spread the operational costs over a large service area and...well...no concord. Frankly, I'm not sure that the burning dino bones were the real noise problem as much as the smooshing together of compressed air, so unless he is planning to use that awesome new biplane SST method, that's kind of out.

Look Elon, I dig your style, I did you passion and your willingness to put it on the line, but maybe if you want to having a thriving car company AND send people to Mars in 15-20 years... the SST might need to take a bit of a backseat to reality on this one.