The name “Thunderf00t” is the alias of Phil Mason, a British chemist and video blogger who has become well-known for posting YouTube videos that criticize, among other things, pseudoscience. His day job is as a scientist in the field of chemistry and biochemistry at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. His tongue in cheek, yet starkly accurate criticisms, have earned him nearly 850,000 subscribers on YouTube and an aggregate total of more than 220 million views.
He famously dismantled The Boring Company’s tunnel reveal in a scathing video at the end of 2018 and has now turned his efforts to Musk’s idea of putting cold gas thrusters on the upcoming Tesla Roadster. His latest video, called “Elon Musk’s Flying Car – BUSTED!” takes on Musk’s recent proclamation that the coming Tesla Roadster would “do something like” flying!
The new Roadster will actually do something like this https://t.co/fIsTAYa4x8
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 9, 2019
“It’s a really, really stupid idea,” Mason first says of rocket technology being applied to conventional vehicles. Cold gas thrusters, he argues, are one of the most low performing and inefficient ways to try and make a car fly, he continues.
“It’s one of the oldest ideas out there,” Mason says about cold gas thruster technology and how it was used in some of the first torpedoes. It’s inefficiency has been known about “for over a century,” he says, performing a crude demonstration with compressed gas on his own.
The idea of cold gas thrusters on a car is “really stupid” he continues.
To make his point, Mason replays Musk’s own words from the Boring Company reveal where Musk himself says: “There are some drawbacks to flying cars, essentially its a helicopter with wheels. They make a lot of noise, there’s a lot of wind force and the probability of something falling on your head is much higher if there’s a bunch of flying cars around.”
“That’s why flying cars are completely impractical,” Mason continues. “Cold gas thrusters are bloody noisy!” he proclaims.
Mason then goes on to debunk the idea of the Hyperloop, which is supposed to use low pressure vacuum technology for high speed travel. “It’s more of soap box derby, instead of the future of transport,” he says about Musk’s Hyperloop ideas.
“It drives Elon Musk fans crazy when you tell them that he is not the visionary that invented the Hyperloop,” Mason says, referring to the century old idea of a vactrain. “He just took somebody else’s idea that was over 100 years old and gave it a new name.”
The reason that no one has built one of these 600 mph vacuum trains is because it’s “insanely difficult, insanely dangerous and insanely expensive to do,” he says. The Hyperloop makes the flying car seem like a “cakewalk”, Mason concludes, audibly trying to hold back laughter.
You can watch his full 35 minute video here: