Tesla officially unveiled the new Tesla Roadster back in November of 2017. but since then we haven’t heard that much about it. I’m going to be going over everything that we know about the new Tesla Roadster status in 2020. and this includes info from the reveal back in 2017 as well as little nuggets of information that we’ve learned through tweets and interviews since then.
The four topics I’m going to cover are
New Tesla Roadster Specs
So the roadster was unveiled as a total surprise at the Tesla semi event back in November of 2017. at this event, Elon claimed that this would be the fastest production car ever built. and surprisingly he also noted that the Tesla Roadster was unnecessary.
but at the same time, they just wanted to give a hardcore smackdown to gas cars. and they plan to do this by making an electric supercar that’s better than the fastest gas supercar in every way. so first let’s talk about the specs of this car so the new roadster is claimed to have a 200 kWh battery. which is twice the size of the biggest batteries that tesla currently offers in the Model S and Model X. With this battery, the Roadster is supposed to get a 620-mile range. which would make it the first electric car to be able to travel a thousand kilometers on a single charge.
In this size battery with this range would put its efficiency at 323 watt-hours per mile. which is pretty high for Tesla vehicles. especially considering the small size and aerodynamic shape. but at the same time, this car is probably gonna weigh a lot and have really big tires. so it’s gonna have a lot of rolling resistance so speaking of the weight of this car we don’t really have any numbers yet.
But we do know what the 100 kWh battery pack in the model S and X weighs. and if you double that you’re looking at 2,700 pounds or 1,250 kilograms for the battery alone. but I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla uses a new battery cell with higher energy density in this car. so the battery weight will hopefully be lower in the roadster.
Okay, so the new roadster is also going to come with all-wheel drive .and this is their new plaid system that has three motors. one on the front axle and then a motor each on the rear wheels. and Elon has said that they’re testing this plaid all-wheel-drive system. on a new performance version of the tesla model S. and he’s also hinted that we might see that by the end of 2020.
Okay now, let’s talk some performance numbers. so at the reveal, it was noted that this car can do 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds. and 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds. which would make it the first production car to be able to do 0-60 in under 2 seconds. and with a 0-100 mile per hour time of 4.2 seconds. that puts it on par with an f1 car. now it was later revealed through interviews and tweets that these numbers were just for the base model. and that there was actually going to be a version of the car that faster. but more on that in a second.
Now as far as the top speed of the Tesla Roadster will be over 250 mph. but they haven’t given us an exact number yet. and they also claim a quarter-mile time of 8.8 seconds. which is just insane so since the reveal we’ve learned that there’s going to be some insane performance version of this car with ties back to SpaceX. and allegedly this system is going to involve 10 cold gas thrusters. positioned around the car to help with acceleration braking and cornering.
It also means that the two rear seats, there are two rear seats and I’m guessing no one over the age of 12 is gonna be able to fit in them. so any way to power these gas thrusters the back seat will be replaced with a composite overwrapped pressure vessel or a COPV. this is just a fancy high-pressure air tank that’s mostly used in rocketry. and it sounds like tesla will be relying on SpaceX for this component. and the rumor is that this COPV would be holding air at about 10,000PSI.
now I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the performance implications of this system. because engineering explained already made a fantastic video walking through the possibilities of this system. so I’ll leave a video to that down below in case you want to watch that.
But the big takeaway is that it’s theoretically possible that this system could get the zero to 60 mph down to about 1 second. but you’d probably also only be able to do that once before you have to refill the tanks. so the practicality is questionable. my only concern with this system is safety.
Anyway, let’s not do all on that because I’m sure that Tesla is considering the safety implications of this. so Tesla claims that this will be the fastest production car in history. but I’m certainly curious to see if they can live up to these specs when they actually start producing this car. and since the reveal, the Rimac C Two has been unveiled. and they’re claiming a 0-60 mph in 1.85 seconds. which would be faster than the base model of the new roadster. but I doubt Tesla’s going to allow themselves to be beaten by the 500th of a second.
Okay now let’s move on to the appearance. I don’t think anyone with a pulse can deny that this car looks amazing and since the reveal we haven’t seen any special changes to the appearance. so it’ll be interesting to see how much of this makes it into the production car. since for example at the reveal, the car didn’t have side-view mirrors. and it had an f1 style steering wheel .there’s also a removable glass roof over the front seats that can supposedly be stored in the trunk. making this almost a convertible.
Now the wheels on this car are enormous. Tesla Roadster wheels are 21 inches in the rear and 20 inches up front. and so far this car has only been seen with Michelin pilot sport cup 2 tires. which are super high-performance track tires as to be expected on a car like this. there are also very wide tires. 325 millimeters in the rear. which is likely needed to put all that power down and corner effectively weighing as much as this car does.
Another interesting note about the wheels is that we just learned that they’re going to use a single center lug as f1 cars do. now, this is beneficial in a couple of ways. first, it allows more room for bigger brakes behind the wheels. and second, it allows for f1 style pistols. so if you ever have a pit crew to replace your tires in about two seconds. this is the car for you.
But in reality, this method of attaching a wheel isn’t very practical. since it requires special tools to get the high torques required to secure the wheel. so your standard tire change kit is not going to be able to change one of these. but if you’re buying a car like this you’re probably not very worried about that.
Cost of a new Tesla Roadster
All right next let’s talk about cost. now this is an area that we haven’t learned all that much new. since the reveal back in 2017. and at this event, they said that the base price was $200,000. and that involved a $50,000 deposit. but there’s also a founder’s series for which we don’t have a lot of details. besides the fact that they’re only going to make a thousand of them. and it’s going to cost 250 000. all of which you have to pay when you order.
The only other interesting thing to consider is when it comes to the cost of this car is that unlike most supercars. the operating costs should be fairly affordable. at least when you compare it to other cars in this performance category. the maintenance on most supercars is at least $5,000 a year. and could be way more than that.
But the roadster should be like any other tesla or electric car when it comes to maintenance. there really shouldn’t be that much to do.
Now there is a chance that there’s a more advanced cooling system in this car that maybe requires some form of maintenance. and yes those tires are going to be very expensive to replace. but if that’s all it is it could be fairly reasonable. so overall with the cost I think you’re getting a lot of car for $200,000. but it’s still going to be out of reach for the vast majority of people.
So last let’s talk about the timeline for the new roadster. and when we might first see these driving around on the streets so believe it or not at the surprise reveal of this car back in 2017. Elon Musk said that production would begin in 2020. which is now and it’s not in production.
But this is an area where we have learned some updates over the past year. for example during an interview, earlier this year with Joe Rogan. Elon talked about the priorities ahead of the new Tesla Roadster. and these included ramping up model Y production. getting the berlin Gigafactory built, expanding the factory in Shanghai, and also starting production on the Cybertruck and Tesla Semi.
During this same interview, he also alludes to a more advanced battery pack. which leads me to believe that the new roadster will be using a new battery pack or cell design. the production timeline of the roadster may be tied to having this new battery cell designed and ready for use.
Then we also got more information on the timeline out of the 2020 q2 Tesla earnings call. and during this conference call, Elon confirmed tentatively that Tesla plans to build the roadster in California. and he mentioned the new vehicle as part of tesla’s updated product roadmap to hit production in the next 12 to 18 months. which would place the startup production in mid to late 2021. but I think it’s probably safe to apply the Elon factor and assume that 2022 is more likely.
so that’s really all we know so far about the new Tesla roadster but I have a feeling that we’re gonna get an official update later this year. perhaps at the 2020 battery day which is on September 22nd Elon has hinted multiple times that they may provide an update later this year. if they have developed an improved battery cell this would be the perfect time to give an update on the roadster. since the roadster likely relies on this new technology.
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