Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed that the new Roadster is a "base model", so faster versions are due.
On the weekend that followed the Roadster's surprise reveal, the company boss said via his Twitter account that the successor to Tesla's first production car will be offered with a special upgrade package. However, Musk hinted that producing a faster version of a car that is already claimed to be capable of accelerating from zero to 60mph in 1.9sec may cause some safety concerns.
"[An upgrade is] just a question of safety," Musk said. "Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities."
Musk last week revealed that the 2+2 sports car, which was a surprise debutant during the launch event for the new Tesla Semi lorry in California, has 10,000nm of torque (7376lb ft) from its three motors. It can hit 60mph half-a-second quicker than the current fastest-accelerating Tesla, the Model S P100D.
He said the successor to Tesla’s first production car, which went off sale five years ago, can also accelerate from zero to 100mph in 4.2sec and complete a quarter-mile sprint in 8.9sec.
"This will the first time that any production car has broken nine seconds in the quarter mile," he said at the reveal event, where the Roadster was driven out of the Semi’s trailer without prior warning.
It is also claimed that the Roadster, which has a removable glass lid and wraparound rear section to give it a look similar to the Mazda MX-5 RF, will have a top speed of more than 250mph.
Musk revealed that the car’s 200kWh battery pack enables it to have a 620-mile range, which is another new record for production electric vehicles. The previous highest-capacity battery produced by Tesla is the 100kWh pack with a maximum range of 341 miles in the Model S P100D, according to the American EPA test.
"The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” continued Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”
The Tesla Roadster is pegged to arrive on roads in 2020, initially priced from $250,000 (about £189,000) for the first 1000 cars, which will be sold as Founders Edition models. Reservations for these cars are now open, with a payment of £189,000 required. Subsequent units will be priced from $200,000 (£151,020), with reservations available for £38,000.
Like the rest of Tesla’s range, the Roadster will be equipped with the brand’s latest autonomous driving technology. Since the last quarter of 2016, all Tesla cars have been equipped with eight surround cameras to provide 360-degree visibility around the car up to 250 metres away. There are also 12 ultrasonic sensors, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects, as well as a forward-facing radar that can see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even underneath the car ahead.
The Roadster will be updateable via over-the-air software, meaning the performance, autonomous features and safety systems may be boosted even after a car has been purchased. Recent examples of Tesla updates have enabled quicker 0-60mph times and enhanced Autopilot functionality.
The Roadster's unveiling comes at a time when Tesla has been working to clear a production bottleneck for its Model 3. More than 400,000 orders have been placed but production slowed when a parts supply issues arose. Musk (pictured below) recently described the scenario as "production hell" and 220 Model 3s were delivered in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the target of 1500.
The issue, along with heavy investment in its new Gigafactory, contributed to Tesla recording a £619 million (£468m) loss in the previous financial quarter. In a statement, the brand said: “While we continue to make significant progress each week in fixing Model 3 bottlenecks, the nature of manufacturing challenges during a ramp-up such as this makes it difficult to predict exactly how long it will take for all bottlenecks to be cleared or when new ones will appear.”
In the face of the setbacks, the brand celebrated the production of its 250,000th car since its birth in 2003. It is also on track to achieve 100,000 deliveries for the Model S and Model X this year. Overall, Tesla’s automotive revenue has grown by 10% year on year compared with the same period in 2016.
Tesla Roadster rivals
The first-generation Roadster might have been the world's most significant production electric sports car when it was launched back in 2008, but today its successor enters a more crowded market. Below are three key electric cars the 2019 Tesla Roadster may have to face.
The Woking car maker is developing an all-electric supercar, a source recently told Autocar. The brand will hybridise its range first before launching the zero-emission model (imagined by Autocar above) with performance to match a 675 LT.
The all-electric supercar concept shows Lamborghini’s intent to produce a high-performance EV. The concept features in-wheel motors, which provide the tight packaging solutions needed for the car’s aggressive aerodynamics.
Rimac is due to reveal its second electric model in the form of a faster, more powerful supercar that will be inspired by an upcoming Concept Two model. The car is predicted to have a 0-60mph time of around 2sec and a range of more than 205 miles - making it considerably more potent than the Concept One.