Last night was supposed to be about Tesla’s biggest ever vehicle. Instead, the big news was about its smallest.
During an event intended to unveil the Tesla Semi — an 80,000lb big rig — the company’s founder went full Musk and revealed a second generation of its very first car, the Roadster.
The new Roadster is similar in form to the original, in that it’s a tiny sports car with a manual targa lid. But that’s where the similarities end. Rather than borrowing a chassis from somewhere else (Lotus, for the first generation) and fitting Tesla battery tech to it, the new Roadster is a bespoke Tesla product from wheels to removable glass roof.
Without the compromises needed to mate two brands’ technologies together, Tesla has been able to create something a bit different. How different? Well, it’ll only be the quickest production car in the world.
Musk didn’t reveal any power ratings for the all-wheel drive Roadster’s motors, but he did give some performance figures. Tesla pencils 0-60mph in at 1.9 seconds — and no, we didn’t make a mistake there, that’s ONE point nine seconds. A quarter-mile run will take 8.8 seconds, which means that if you were to drive it on a drag strip, regulations would require you to fit a parachute. Top speed is 250mph. That’s not a typo either.
So it’s the range that suffers, right? Guess again. Tesla specifies the Roadster with a 200kWh battery pack, twice that of its P100 models, for a 621-mile (1000km) range. That means the Roadster should out-accelerate everything, outrun just about everything, and get twice as far as anything even close to similar performance before needing a top-up.
With all those attributes you may expect the Roadster to be somewhat expensive. It’s certainly a step up from the original, but the new car’s base price is a mere $200,000, with $50,000 payable now if you want to reserve one. There’s also a Roadster Founders Series model, priced at $250,000, with the full fee required as a deposit should you want one of the 1,000.
The Roadster may form a welcome distraction for Tesla at the moment. It recently had to delay deliveries and production targets for its mass-market Model 3 due to supply chain issues. This wiped almost 10% off the value of the company’s shares since September.
With the Gigafactory reportedly working flat-out to produce the battery packs for the planned 2,000 Model 3s a week, you may wonder where Tesla is going to find the capacity for Roadster and Semi batteries too. We’re right there with you, so we’ll be watching with interest…