When the first Tesla Roadster rolled out of the “factory” in March 2008, things were very different. The world was on the edge of an economic meltdown, America got its first African American president and the first of the Iron Man movies was released. Ten years on, the world’s economy is in much better shape (if Trump would just leave things alone), the Republicans are back in power and Robert Downey Jr. turned 53.
Back to the Roadster Story
Two more years and the world will have a new Roadster, and once again it will be like nothing else in the world. An electric car faster than any production car ever made, and a nose-thumb to every gasoline car manufacturer in the world. Again, but this time with a lot more credibility and proof that EVs are the future.
What will change for the Roadster after 12 years?
In short, everything.
The Roadster 2008 used the shell and chassis of a Lotus, also called a glider (a car without the drivetrain.) The new Roadster (2020) will have an architecture similar to that of the Model S, but shorter.
The original Roadster had variants priced up to $128,500. The new Roadster is expected to start at $200,000, possibly with higher-end variants costing even more. There’s even a Founders Series for $250,000 limited to 1,000 reservations.
The first Roadster had an acceleration time of 0-60 mph in 3.7 to 4.0 seconds. The last Roadster (presumably) will blaze through to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds.
The 2008 Roadster boasted a top speed of 125 mph, which was electronically limited. Not too shabby, but the 2020 Roadster is expected to be able double that at +250 mph – the top speed is presumably being kept a secret because Musk wants to add SpaceX elements to make it go much faster. It may well end up being the fastest production car in the world, as Musk boasted.
Tidbit: Emile Bouret, a supercar test driver and Tesla’s Chief Designer Franz Von Holzhausen’s old college roommate, said this after driving the Roadster 2020 prototype:
“I know there’s some skepticism about the figures that Elon quoted… and I think can say without getting in trouble that those are actual figures. Those aren’t theoreticals. Those aren’t calculations. We’ve done those numbers. And I probably shouldn’t say that those numbers are even conservative, but they are.”
The Roadster of the 00’s had a 53 kWh battery pack – enough to give it a maximum range of about 244 miles. Pretty impressive at the time and still beats most mainstream pure EVs. The Roadster of the 20’s will have a 200 kWh battery and an almost unbelievable range of 620 miles on a single charge, or nearly 1,000 km. That’s enough to get you from Louisville, Kentucky, to Buffalo, New York, with miles to spare.
All that is pretty impressive when you consider the 12 years between the production dates of the two supercars. A lot of technology leaps have been made by Tesla during that time, and the company will most probably be consistently profitable by 2020. Tesla has changed the face of the automobile industry, and they did all that in a relatively short period of time. When you look at the age of the auto industry and the rapid emergence of EVs as a viable means of personal and commercial transportation, you’ll see that exponential difference.
That’s the real difference between the Roadster 2008 and the Roadster 2020: the fact that Elon Musk and Tesla have virtually upended the automobile industry in that time. And after more than a decade since it hit the road, the Roadster – but in its new avatar – is still a highly sought-after automobile that will probably sell like hot cakes when it comes out in 2020 – 12 years a crave, in fact.