The Roadster’s back. Tell a friend.
Not that you’ll need to, of course. Elon Musk and Company seemingly pulled off the impossible last night in California, blowing up the internets by upstaging Tesla’s own semi truck reveal with a carefully choreographed “one more thing” moment.
Following the introduction of the Semi â€” for which the company also made some pretty remarkable claims â€” Elon Musk stepped back a bit from the stage. At this point, the lights went out and a bright red Roadster unloaded itself from an enclosed trailer attached to the very truck Musk had just introduced.
I’ll say this for the man: he knows how to put on a show.
The Roadster does look phenomenal, low and sleek with more than a hint of aggression to it. I’m sure we’ll have umpteen different stories in the days and weeks ahead about the feasibility of a company that’s not making any money introducing a niche-market, quarter-million dollar supercar at a time when it’s having trouble figuring out its bread-n-butter. For now, though, let’s have a look at the promised specs of this new Tesla Roadster.
Yes, that price is correct, dear reader: a full $250,000 will buy early adopters a “Founders Series” Roadster. 1,000 of these are available for reservation but, unlike the commoners who were granted the privilege of of reserving a Model 3 for a mere $1,000, it’ll take a full quarter-mil deposit to join this particular club.
Basic math reveals this has the potential to furnish Tesla’s coffers with $250,000,000 of the finest American dollars without having to produce a single car up front. Beyond the Founders Series machines, a Roadster will sell for the cut-rate price of $200,000.
The promised performance specs are mind-bending. An acceleration run from 0-60 mph is said to take 1.9 seconds, on its way to covering the quarter-mile in 8.8 seconds. This author has first-hand, front-seat experience with eyeball-flattening acceleration of a Red Bull Global Rallycross car that is also said to hit 60 mph in a similar amount of time. I can say, without hesitation, putting that level of power into the hands of rich punters and unleashing it onto the streets may not be the wisest course of action. It is, quite simply, physics-defying. Again, that is a topic for another post.
While it might not look like it at first glance, the Roadster is a four-seat machine. Its lightweight glass roof is removable and can apparently be stored in the trunk. That’s a mighty wide sill next to the passenger seat, too.
Tesla says the new Roadster will travel 620 miles on a single charge, although probably not at its top speed (somewhere north of 250 mph). All four wheel are driven, indicating either a motor at each corner or a dual setup as found in the D-series Model S machines.
Beyond that, details are scanty. There is no mention of where the batteries are placed, or how many, or their capacity. The old Roadster was EPA rated at 244 miles on a single charge, getting to 60 mph in just under four seconds and topping out at 125 mph. Its battery pack weighed about 1,000 lbs and a full 53 kWh charge took about three hours.
At last night’s reveal, the year 2020 was bandied about as a potential release date for the Roadster. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the feasibility of that plan.
â€œThe point of this is to give the hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,â€� boasted Musk just shortly after the Roadster appeared on stage. He might not have car production nailed down … but he’s pretty good at the hyperbole.