Tesla Roadster Delayed, Cybertruck Prioritized

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
tesla roadster delayed cybertruck prioritized

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast this week, mentioning that the resurrected Roadster stands to see less love as the company turns its focus to other projects. Rogan, who already owns a Model S P100D and is an avid car collector, said he was interested in picking up the new Roadster once it becomes available. To that, Musk had some bad news. Higher-volume cars would have to come first.

“Roadster is kind of like dessert,” he said. “We gotta get the meat and potatoes and greens and stuff.”

The rest of the interview saw the two men discuss Musk’s opposition to unconstitutional lockdown orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as humanity’s growing need for symbiosis with technology in order to ensure we’re not left behind as artificial intelligence begins to surpass us — boring stuff that has nothing to do with cars.

Despite Tesla’s returning Roadster seeing frequent mention in 2017, we’ve been left with more questions than answers. Sales were initially expected to commence in 2020, with the car boasting the fastest acceleration you’re likely to find on solid ground. Base models were alleged to offer a 2.1-second launch to 100 km/h (62 mph), while thruster-equipped betters were said to do so in 1.9 seconds.

Oh, did we not mention the proposed SpaceX package that adds 10 cold gas thrusters that improve performance (everything from improving lateral G forces to helping straight-line acceleration and braking)? Well, that may be because it seems fantastical and the kind of thing that would be prohibitively difficult to implement on a street car. Likewise is the 620 miles worth of range the car is supposed to yield from a single charge of its 200 kWh battery. With promises like that, it’s no wonder the electric hot rod saw its launch delayed.

Musk even said the car may be able to hover off the ground, Back to the Future-style, and will definitely usher in the new three-motor drivetrain (the “Plaid Powertrain”) for use in future products.

While we never expected all of this to make it to production, we knew Tesla set some lofty goals for itself; it wouldn’t be surprising to see the model enter into a prolonged development phase. In 2019, Musk announced the next-generation Roadster would be delayed until 2021. The Model S Plaid will now lead with the new triple-motor drivetrain and will be added to the Roadster after launch.

But that date is looking almost as far into the future as when the car was initially announced in 2017. In addition to an improved Model S, Elon told Rogan he also wants to get the company’s Cybertruck out ahead of the Roadster. And he’s a fool for saying so, right?

Nah, not really. While the Roadster sounds like it’ll be the craziest thing on the market, we’re not positive it can deliver on all of its claims. Achieving a 600-mile range would be a colossal triumph in itself, but Musk is basically promising to build the world’s fastest car (with low-level flight capabilities) for the low price of $250,000.

Unfortunately for some, the buzz around Cybertruck is fresher and louder. It also happens to be in an emerging segment of vehicles (battery driven trucks) that several manufacturers have suddenly taken an interest in. It wouldn’t pay for Tesla to wait to deliver its pickup until after Ford, General Motors, Rivian, Lordstown Motors, and whoever else manages to beat it to the punch.

Other aspects impacting the timing of the Roadster launch, according to Musk, include increasing production volumes for the Model Y and completing a new Tesla factory in Germany. Current projections have that facility kicking off in the middle of next year, meaning the Roadster probably wouldn’t enter into production until late 2021.

[Images: Tesla Motors]

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3 of 31 comments
  • Garak Garak on May 09, 2020

    It'll be interesting to see how much of the cybertruck design remains in the final production model. Obviously all the sharp angles have to get blunted, you need mirrors and such, and the useless rear doors need to be redesigned.

  • Dwford Dwford on May 10, 2020

    And what of all the people that put down $50,000 deposits for the Roadster starting in 2017??

  • ScarecrowRepair Most drivers in city traffic pass thousands of cars every day. We don't notice the many who drive sanely, only the few screwups. How many times a year are we the screwup? Call it 5 times. That means that 1 out of 73 drivers on the road are going to screw up sometime today. I'd say that comes to seeing one screwup a day, and we sure do remember them.
  • Arthur Dailey This car is also in my all time favourite colour combination for 1970s' Town Cars. The black exterior with the deep red (burgundy) interior. Even took my driving test in one. The minute that the driving examiner saw the car I knew that I had passed. He got in and let out a long sigh and started asking about the car. My Old Man always had a Town Car in that black/burgundy colour combination for 'business meetings' that required the use of a back seat for passengers. No way that his full sized associates could fit in the back of a Mark IV or V. So I also have quite a bit of driving time behind the wheel of Town Cars. Just add in the 450 cid engine and the 'optional' continetal hump and I would love to have one of these in my driveway.
  • Art Vandelay 15k for some old rusty 80s junk that is slower to 60 than the Exxon Valdez? Pass. Plus no TikTok on the old Mercedes
  • JMII I know people behind me get POed when I refuse to turn (right or left) depending on traffic. Even my wife will scream "just go already" but I tend err on the side of waiting for a gap that gives me some cushion. It's the better safe then sorry approach which can be annoying for those behind. Oh well.
  • Bobbysirhan Next thing you know, EV drivers will be missing the freedom to travel on their own schedules instead of their cars'.