By on November 17, 2017

New Tesla Roadster

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.

New Tesla Roadster

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.

New Tesla Roadster

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.

New Tesla Roadster

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]

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39 Comments on “Tesla Roadster: Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?...”


  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Seems like the roadster is just a tactic to help rectify Tesla’s cash situation in the extreme short term and build hype. The hardcore faithful will gladly plunk down deposits for potential Vaporware.

    The semi is a different story. JB Hunt just put signed an agreement with Tesla for “multiple” trucks. Big trucking firms with established “day” routes will love the Tesla. Independent long-haul owner operators… not so much. I also see UPS / FedEx going all in on electric.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “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.”

    And that’s the ONLY story to focus on.

    Telling us that Musk took a dump, and describing it in glorious detail, is tabloid fodder for those who follow (stalk) Musk 24/7 and think he’s the next coming of Jesus.

    Out in the world, the other 99.99999999999999999% want to know “WTF? Is this why his entire world is stumbling and he can’t service those who put up money for a Model 3? He’s playing games with their money?”

  • avatar
    Car Guy

    Given the model 3 debacle, you would think there is no way a rational person would hand this man $250,000 for a pipe dream………

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    But hey, it is quicker than a Demon for only 14x the price!

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    The more diesel trucks they can get off the road the better. How about dump trucks next can’t stand being behind them belching black smoke.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Is the company even going to be around to build either one of these? I have my doubts.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Hand building a few prototypes of cost-no-object anything, shy of nukes and space chips, with little in the way of reliability nor longevity requirements, is something anyone can do.

      If you’re a good salesman, in today’s climate, for now, that is the business to be in. As it was for a brief period in Japan, prior to their bubble bursting. Selling pointless to clueless, will always be easier than having a clue. At least until those who should have a clue, either once again does, or are bled too dry to continue funding the silly charade.

      Electrifying suitable use cases for heavy trucks, does seem like an avenue well worth exploring, though. And given how many breaks heavy truck operators have been getting from pollution regs virtually anywhere, also an area where the environmental benefits should be much greater and more obvious, than what is the case wrt already clean burning passenger cars.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Exactly. I used to work for one of the heavy-truck manufacturing companies in the design department. To design a truck properly (concept to full production-ready including all certifications and durability testing) costs close to $300M and that was 20 years ago.

      Add another couple hundred million for the newly-announced Roadster, and this is sheer insanity. They do not have the cash or the manufacturing space/knowhow to support any of this.

      At the current rate of cash burn, they will be out of money in a couple of years, and even if they do manage to get either this new truck and the roadster into full production (highly doubtful looking at the Model 3 “production hell” currently in play), they still won’t make enough PROFIT (not revenue) in order to climb out of the massive financial hole they have dug themselves into.

      And contrary to what it might appear, I really do want to see this company and these products be successful. But having spent most of my career in product development at manufacturing companies, I just don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel.

      They are going to go bankrupt, and the Chinese are going to buy what’s left and move production to China. It’s all about the cashflow. When you run out of cash, no matter how cool your products are, how many patents you have, how many you have have already produced, your employees and suppliers don’t get paid, the utility bills don’t get paid, and the factory doors close.

      No matter how much want to believe otherwise, that’s the way it works. Musk may be a genius, but he can’t fight off the hard financial realities by announcing new products for which he has no money to develop.

      • 0 avatar
        pinkslip

        I’m no expert, but isn’t Tesla on track for profitability with the battery factory and eventual Model 3 production in full-swing? I’d think as long as they’re still tracking to open their battery factory and continue to ramp up (even if it is much slower than it should/could be) Model 3 production, they would be in a position to expand on other projects like the truck and roadster. Granted, Model S and X sales alone aren’t going to cut it, but that isn’t the whole picture, right?

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        I’m starting to believe that Musk really has no intention of ultimately turning Tesla Automotive into a genuinely profitable company. I think that he’s using it as a means to convince the world that transitioning from fossil fuels to electric for all energy needs is possible. He’s trying to leverage the success of each vehicle (original Roadster -> Model S -> Model X -> Model 3 -> Semi -> new Roadster) into an acceptance of battery electric in daily life. With that end goal, if he’s producing the batteries that will be used for non-Tesla EVs and renewable energy storage in businesses and homes he can let Tesla Auto fade away. One of the other things that he’s developing is the tech to manage the batteries, something else that he can sell or license separately from Tesla Auto.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Negative article about Tesla on TTAC — shocking, I tell you :-)

    No such thing as bad publicity. Keep up the good work, guys!

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      We apologize for upsetting the fanboys.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      I dunno, friend… EVERY article I’ve seen about the Roadster and semi so far (even blatant PR-driven puff pieces) also mentions Tesla’s ongoing woes emerging from its self-inflicted “production hell” with the Model 3, usually around halfway down the inverted pyramid.

      That tells me Tesla’s attempt to shift the narrative was only moderately successful at best, and likely not worth (at least from a PR standpoint) the millions spent on developing these products when the company still can’t send appreciable midsize sedan volume out the door.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Well, if the truth is negative, can you blame them? Nothing said in this article is out of context or not based on fact.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The Tesla S 85 battery pack weighs about 1300 pounds and give a range of about 250 miles. So this car will have more than double the S range, which means a battery that has to be at least twice as heavy to provide not only the range but also the juice necessary for that crazy acceleration and top speed. Can a sports car with a 2600 pound battery really go 250mph and 0-60 in 1.9 seconds? I’m very doubtful – if such range and speed is possible with today’s batteries, then I don’t know why F1 racers aren’t fully electric.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      In fully financialized dystopias, nothing exciting is possible. And nothing possible exciting. But as long as those on the freshprint welfare rolls hand me some of their loot, I promise to tell them sweet little lies about all the exciting, visionary, futurey and “smart” things I’m going to give them tomorrow, in return.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > Can a sports car with a 2600 pound battery really go 250mph and 0-60 in 1.9 seconds?

      One that has 10,000 newton meters of torque and all-wheel-drive can.

      $200k is CHEAP!

    • 0 avatar
      pinkslip

      “The Tesla S 85 battery pack weighs about 1300 pounds and give a range of about 250 miles. So this car will have more than double the S range, which means a battery that has to be at least twice as heavy to provide not only the range but also the juice necessary for that crazy acceleration and top speed. Can a sports car with a 2600 pound battery really go 250mph and 0-60 in 1.9 seconds? I’m very doubtful – if such range and speed is possible with today’s batteries, then I don’t know why F1 racers aren’t fully electric.”

      1. I expect the Roadster to be fairly heavy for its size. But enough power/torque can overcome a heavy curb weight. Where the car will suffer the most (relative to lighter cars) is in handling.

      2. Even with a 2000+ lb battery, the car can still weigh about the same as other notably fast cars. The Dodge Hellcat models are no lightweights, for example.

      3. F1, and basically every other major racing series have strict rules, including engine type. There are electric-only racing series which are gaining popularity. But going back to point #1, there are multiple factors to a race car (weight, aerodynamics, center of gravity, cornering speeds, etc.) to factor into the type of racing you’re doing. Going back to point #2, a Hellcat or Demon are designed to drag race, not complete a 45 minute race around Laguna Seca. The Roadster is a street car with it’s primary goal being acceleration.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I thought Musk and JB Straubel were spending their nights trying to fix the new battery factory. When do they have time to work on this little sweetie?

  • avatar
    th009

    Roadster Mk 1 gliders were built by Lotus. But a 4500 lb sports coupe — regardless of how it’s powered — is no Lotus, and will not outhandle a 911 or a Ferrari.

    Incidentally, a set of tires designed to handle 250 mph speeds will cost $20K+. At those speeds there are a lot of new problems. But I guess the rocket engineers will have no trouble solving those?

    • 0 avatar
      pinkslip

      The Mk1 Roadster was no Lotus, either, in terms of weight. Batteries are heavy no matter the size of the chassis they sit in. But People buying a Veyron- or even a Corvette ZR1- don’t buy it for it’s autocross prowess and neither will people buying a Roadster that does 0-60 in 1.9 seconds.

    • 0 avatar
      raffi14

      But a Tesla Model 3 isn’t really any heavier than a 3 series, ~3500 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? A 3-series is not going to make the Roadster any lighter, it’ll still weigh as much as a Hellcat.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Model 3 also doesn’t accelerate twice as fast as the BMW, nor out-range it by a couple hundred miles, or have a higher top speed; it is actually a marginally inferior car from pure performance perspective.

        Relative to other hi-po GT’s with four (marginal) seats though, stuff like a 911 or fancy Mustang, that is what Tesla is claiming for this Roadster.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I think this is great. Redefine what it means to have a quick car (in a straight line). I hope they succeed on many levels. Others (like battery waste products) not so much.

  • avatar
    Spartan

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

  • avatar
    conundrum

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      pdog_phatpat

      Wow. BRAVO.

    • 0 avatar
      Baskingshark

      At $35K base with NO options, not even paint that isn’t black, and the red press car optioned to around $60K, the Model 3 ain’t no “econo sedan”…

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @conundrum: “all be handed shovels to dig up cobalt with minimal rest breaks” “the credulous believe every word of tommyrot”

      Except technology is moving beyond cobalt. Funny how that happens when the price of something goes up:

      https://www.energyharvestingjournal.com/articles/11137/low-cost-cobalt-free-lithium-rechargeable-batteries

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