The upcoming Tesla Roadster could set new benchmarks for electric-car range and acceleration, according to claims made by company CEO Elon Musk.
The Tesla Roadster was most recently displayed at the Grand Basel car exhibit in Switzerland in 2019, the first time it had been seen in public since its surprise unveiling at Tesla’s factory in California in November 2018.
The model that’s been shown is still a prototype, but is representative of the Roadster in its production form. Rather than using an electrically retractable hardtop, buyers will have to remove the middle section of the roof by hand and stow it in a dedicated compartment within the car. Tesla is planning to officially reveal the cabin of the open-top supercar at a later date.
Tesla Roadster: specs & performance
The electric sports car is targeting a 0-100km/h time of 1.9 seconds, with a top speed claimed to be in the region of 400km/h. Performance like this would put it in the same league as hypercars such as the Pininfarina Battista and the Lotus Evija.
Meanwhile, Tesla has promised a range of up to almost 1000 kilometres on a single charge of the Roadster’s battery, far in excess of the 600km record currently held by the Tesla Model S.
Musk says the Tesla Roadster has been built to “give a hardcore smack down to gasoline cars.” The ‘base’ version of the Roadster is expected to achieve that headline 0-100km/h figure, while 0-160km/h could take as little as 4.2 seconds; that’s quicker than a BMW M4 gets from 0-100km/h.
Power comes from a 200kWh battery pack; a unit that’s almost twice the size of any other electric-car battery in use today. There are three electric motors: two powering the rear wheels, and another to drive the front wheels for all-wheel-drive. Tesla says the new Roadster produces 10,000Nm of ‘wheel torque’.
A standing quarter mile is claimed to be possible in 8.9 seconds, which makes it the first production car to do the quarter mile in less than nine seconds. Musk also hinted at a version “beyond the base model,” which could deliver even more performance. The Tesla chief has, however, confirmed a “Space X option package” will be offered with the Roadster, to celebrate Musk’s other company successfully launching a rocket into space.
The Roadster has a 2+2 seating layout, although Musk conceded that “giant people” couldn’t fit in the back; he did however boast about the Roadster’s plentiful storage areas despite its focus on performance and enormous battery.
Tesla Roadster: prices & release date
The second-generation Roadster (the first-generation model was Tesla’s first car, sold between 2008 and 2012) will begin production in 2020, with reservations currently being taken.
Prices for the base Roadster in the US start at $200,000 (AU $300,000), with customers being asked to place a $50,000 (AU $75,000) deposit. A Founders Series model – limited to just 1000 examples – will cost from $250,000 (AU $394,000).
Tesla has not yet confirmed the model for Australia.