Tesla Roadster: Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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 — for which the company also made some pretty remarkable claims — 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.

“The point of this is to give the hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” 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.

[Images: Tesla]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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5 of 39 comments
  • Spartan Spartan on Nov 17, 2017

    Two Model S cars go 'round me outside, 'round me outside, 'round me outside!

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Nov 18, 2017

    This unveil must have been like a Billy Graham revival meeting from my yoof judging from the upchuck clips shown on TV news. Suspend your disbelief! Lookit this Sem-eye, and lookit this new Rodster! Available in 18 months or five years whichever comes last. And the cheers were loud and long. Damme, the clueless were in full approval. When I was a chirpy youngster running around Portwmouth England, a lot of the local delivery vehicles were ELECTRIC battery operated then in 1955. I remember the whine of the secret motors. But hey, Tesla is ALL NEW, so for people with no technical background, the attention span of a gnat, the inability to concentrate, no knowledge of the past, and the need for pleasure jolts in short sharp bursts, the Rodster is ideal! Why waste energy excessively by burning it in your vehicle? Burn premade energy to excess from the grid instead. You know you want to. To get current to the motors for a burst will require copper bus bars for the ampacity required, over 1,300A at 750 volts for a megawatt which is 750 hp when you include inefficiencies. But as with Hyperloop or the life of a monk on Mars drinking recycled pee and chawing down green leafy veggies grown under a wan sun and with only a slow internet connection for companionship, the credulous believe every word of tommyrot. Since everyone's opinion these days is fact, hey, any twit can stand up and utter inanities that people can buy into if they're a brain cell or two short, and if you don't believe, well you've been reading fake news or Russky propaganda. The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo who own most of the ore will all be handed shovels to dig up cobalt with minimal rest breaks; cobalt's price has already doubled this year and is needed for electric motors, and there's only 7,000,000 recoverable tons left in the world. Time for the CIA to move in and protect US interests, I'd say. The Chinese already have big contracts and that's unfriendly. Whole dried-up seas of lithium carbonate are about to be sucked into gigantic vacuum cleaners in Chile and Argentina. There's no environmental impact from going EV, no sir. And down the rabbit hole we go again. But why bother with details? Let St Elon do it for you. He needs money desperately to get those Model 3 econo-sedans out the door in short order, so paying $250K upfront for a Rodster with no delivery date guarantee, well the self-hynotized are having raptures, and the mailbox is full of checks already. The best part of his strategy is getting all the existing car companies running around in circles spending billions on EVs and autonomous bubble cars that not many have shown much interest in purchasing so far, thus we can all rest assured they will be shoveled down our throats whether we want them or not just to recover the investments of the global oligarchs. This is mass mesmerism at its very best. Time for an analogue single malt from the Isle of Orkney. Now that's real booze and available now, no deposit required.

  • Add Lightness As a kid, it was Germany, then Japan, then Korea, now China. Italy was and still is, the maker of needy mistresses.
  • Add Lightness So now new Mach-E buyers have the choice whether they want to save $8,000 or become indentured the finance companies, possibly for life.Buy what you can afford, even if that means buying tools and learning new life skills.
  • Dale I like it. Not sure when we will be in the market for a 2nd EV, but this looks like a nice hatchback.
  • FreedMike Cute car. If it's priced right it could be a winner.
  • Theflyersfan By the end of the summer, it will be buy one, get one free with a free charger at home install.