Company CEO says new sports car 'is base model'; it can hit 60mph in 1.9sec
Sam Sheehan
20 November 2017

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.

Tesla Semi lorry revealed with 5sec 0-60mph time

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.

Porsche Mission E due with high-power electric drivetrain

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.

Opinion: Musk has pulled off the oldest trick in the book

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.

McLaren electric supercar

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.

Lamborghini Terzo Millennio concept

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 supercar

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.

Read more

Tesla Semi lorry revealed with 5sec 0-60mph time

Opinion: Musk has pulled off the oldest trick in the book

Tesla puts focus on escaping 'production hell' with Model 3

Our Verdict

Seat Arona

Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?

Join the debate


17 November 2017

Clearly it's time to recalibrate our ideas of what makes a car great. Acceleration, top speed, price - life isn't a game of Top Trumps and no-one over the age of 12 should be impressed by this sort of thing.

17 November 2017
Byzantine wrote:

Clearly it's time to recalibrate our ideas of what makes a car great. Acceleration, top speed, price - life isn't a game of Top Trumps and no-one over the age of 12 should be impressed by this sort of thing.

Why is that them?  Just because you don't like it?


17 November 2017

Oops, I'm considerably older than 12, and am mightily impressed. Mind you, my neighbour's Model S is a great drive, so I'm already a Tesla fan.

17 November 2017



17 November 2017

Agree 100% take 0-60 times away from Tesla’s which are a big con anyway and they don’t offer anything at all

18 November 2017

Aside from cheap running and silent cruising and room for 7 in something that looks rather hot. No indeed absolutely nothing. Ever been in one? I own 2 so I think I know a little more than you. 

17 November 2017
Byzantine wrote:

Clearly it's time to recalibrate our ideas of what makes a car great. Acceleration, top speed, price - life isn't a game of Top Trumps and no-one over the age of 12 should be impressed by this sort of thing.

Gotta make the car first! Don’t forget the Model 3 production problems and now the Semi that will need to be in production before this even gets a whiff of the 2020 target.


17 November 2017

When I floor my classic 911, which has a pipercross air box and the insulation removed (5KG), the sound is atleast half the experience, this Tesla will have to have a noise generator hooked up to the 48 speaker stereo it probably has. It is the same when I ride my motorcycle, the feel and noise. This electric type of propulsion may well be advanced, efficient  etc but soulless.


17 November 2017

Utter rubbish, theres absolutely no reason why you can enjoy the noise an electric motor makes just as you can enjoy the noise ICE engine make.

XXXX just went POP.

17 November 2017 the Tesla Roadster leave you in the dust - souless and red-faced...


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim