The second generation Tesla Roadster has been in the works for several years now, for perpetual delays mean it won't be arriving until sometime in 2023. Though when it does, it should offer unparalleled performance by current standards. Seriously, it sounds like one heck of a machine.
Taking inspiration from the original Roadster, which helped launched Tesla into the limelight back in 2008, the new supercar promises blistering performance stats. And this time it's all homemade, rather than a converted Lotus Elise. We're expecting 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds, a 0-100 time of 4.2 seconds, a top speed of over 250 mph, and up to 620 miles of range.
Tesla’s Roadster follows the unveiling of its 1000bhp Tesla Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid saloons that arrived mid-last year, with the updated cars delivering better performance thanks to a new tri-motor electric setup based on the Plaid powertrain.
This, combined with better battery technology means the rejuvenated Model S is able to reach 0-60mph in 1.99 seconds. The tri-motor flagship Cybertruck model was originally claimed to be able to travel over 500 miles on one charge.
Tesla Roadster: Release window and pricing
Unsurprisingly, the Tesla Roadster was set for a 2022 release, having already been delayed a couple of times. But thanks to supply chain shortages, production won't be starting until 2023.
Elon Musk originally tweeted (opens in new tab) news of this delay in September 2021, and confirmed the situation during Tesla's annual shareholders meeting. However the Tesla CEO later confirmed that the Roadster is scheduled to enter production in 2023 — likely after the launch of the Cybertruck.
The continual delays will be a kick in the teeth for people who've put down a deposit of $50,000 to reserve a car that was originally set to cost $200,000 for the base model. Reservations have always been open, which is more than you can say for the Cybertruck, but the final price has been removed from the Tesla website.
Given the supply chain issues, and Tesla's seemingly never-ending price increases on existing models, don't be surprised if the Roadster ends up costing a lot more than originally planned.
Reservations require a $50,000 deposit, $5,000 of which is due at the time of reservation. The remaining $45,000 has to be paid within 10 days.
Tesla also has plans for a Founders Series model, with only 1,000 being produced, which was originally set to come with a price tag of $250,000; that's serious supercar money.
Tesla Roadster: Range potential, battery and performance
The Tesla Roadster will feature a 200kWh battery pack that, according to the US manufacturer, will have the potential to offer around 620 miles of range. That's an absurd level of range that's absolutely unheard of in electric cars.
Even Tesla's other cars, which have industry-leading levels of range, can't match that. The next-best alternative would be the tri-motor Tesla Cybertruck, which promises over 500 miles of range, and the Long Range Model S which offers 405 miles.
However, anyone tapping into the formidable performance potential of the car is unlikely to get anything near that. The powerpack will drive three electric motors – one in the front, two in the rear - which will deliver 10,000 Nm / 7,400 lb ft of torque and enable it to launch from zero to 60mph in 1.9 seconds.
The performance is slightly better than the Model S Plaid, which is hardly surprising given the Roadster’s lower, more dynamic body styling. Tesla claims the all-wheel drive Roadster will also be able to reach 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds and cover a quarter-mile in just 8.8 seconds. Top speed is expected to be somewhere over 250 miles per hour.
Plaid three-motor powertrain models have a distinct advantage compared to more standard models in the Tesla range though, because ‘standard’ cars only feature twin electric motors – one at the front and the other at the back.
Tesla Roadster: Design and interior
The Tesla Roadster looks every inch a supercar, with delicious lines that give a clear indication of what the 2+2 sports model should be capable of delivering.
The second-generation Roadster was first unveiled back in 2017 and was initially expected to begin production during 2021, but has experienced similar delays to the Model 3 saloon. The overall look of the design hasn’t changed much during the last three years or so though.
Despite its supercar status, the Tesla Roadster’s interior will feature seating for four. Although, judging by the design, roominess for the rear occupants looks to be somewhat snug at best. Especially because of that dramatically angled roofline.
However, the car is likely to feel slightly more spacious thanks to a removable glass roof section. That’s above the front seats and can be lifted out and stored in the trunk. Staying with the interior, the concept indicates that there’s a large touchscreen that covers the area from the top of the dashboard down to the center console.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously hinted that there will be a range of trim options available, over and above that found on the base model specification. In typically overblown fashion, Musk has also suggested in his colourful Tweet timeline that there will be a SpaceX package featuring 'rocket thrusters', which could deliver an additional twist to the potent design package.
Tesla Roadster: Special features
Any new Tesla model always comes with plenty of tech, and the Tesla Roadster looks to be no exception. Aside from those, ahem, rocket thrusters, the sports car will feature the company’s latest incarnation of its Autopilot driving technology, a raft of surround cameras offering 360-degree visibility up to 250 meters away and a crop of ultrasonic sensors.
A dozen of these sensors will be able to detect hard and soft objects, while the car’s forward-facing radar can continue to function through an array of adverse conditions. That includes heavy rain, fog and dust.
Tesla’s Roadster will likely also feature over-the-air software updates, allowing performance, autonomous features and numerous safety systems to be updated dynamically. As you would expect from the manufacturer.
Tesla Roadster: Outlook
It’s been a long time coming, but the second generation Tesla Roadster is getting closer to emerging from the company’s American headquarters in California - even if it’s currently held up in a logjam of other production headaches for the Fremont-based manufacturing facility.
Good things take time, and given that the car has been developed from scratch, unlike the original Tesla Roadster that was based on a Lotus chassis, the continued delays in its development are hardly surprising. But while the headline-grabbing power and performance figures are impressive, they’re currently just that. Time will tell if the car manages to live up to the hype.
Nevertheless, the Tesla Roadster is just one of several high performance EVs that are set to enter the hypercar marketplace in the not-too-distant future. There’s the Pininfarina Battista, the Rimac C_Two and a rumoured BMW iM2 to name but three but, as always, it’s currently Tesla that’s arguably doing the best job of whipping up hysteria about its forthcoming and, possibly, fastest car to date.