Tesla Roadster: nine things we know about the ‘smackdown to gasoline cars’

tesla roadster renderings 2017


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Tesla Roadster: nine things we know about the ‘smackdown to gasoline cars'” was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Friday 17th November 2017 11.11 UTC

Tesla announced a new version of its very first car, the Roadster, turning it into an electric supercar described as a “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars” by company founder Elon Musk.

The new sports car was unveiled alongside Tesla’s new electric truck, and promises to wow drivers with some extraordinary statistics that make it look like a Top Trumps card turned into an electrified reality.

Here’s everything we know about the new Tesla Roadster.

1. Zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds

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The Roadster could be the quickest production car ever to hit 60mph. Photograph: Tesla

Musk said prototypes of the “base model” are able to hit 60mph from a standstill in 1.9 seconds and that a production version of the car may be able to accelerate even faster.

That’s a full 0.4 seconds faster to 60mph than the current fastest Tesla, the Model S P100D, in the so-called ludicrous plus mode, which hits 60mph in 2.3 seconds. But it would also be faster than any current production car, with the performance hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder the current king with a 0-60mph time of 2.2 seconds. The fastest 0-60mph time ever recorded was 1.5 seconds by the AMZ Grimsel Electric Race Car.

2. Zero to 100mph in 4.2 seconds

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The Roadster will hit 100mph faster than most sports cars hit 60mph. Photograph: Tesla

If hitting 60mph in 1.9 seconds wasn’t enough, Tesla reckons the Roadster will be able to reach 100mph from a standstill in 4.2 seconds and go on to do a quarter-of-a-mile time of 8.9 seconds, should Vin Diesel ever come calling.

3. A top speed of 250mph

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The Roadster at its unveiling. Photograph: Reuters

Musk proudly proclaimed that the Roadster will have a top speed of over 250mph, if you can find a straight long enough. The current record for top speed for a production car is the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which reached a speed of 277.87mph on 4 November, in Pahrump, Nevada.

4. Three motors

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All-wheel drive helps the Roadster reach its incredible pace. Photograph: Tesla

Using a similar system to the Model S P100D, the Roadster will have three motors. One in the front to drive the front wheels and two in the rear to drive the rear wheels giving the Roadster all-wheel drive.

5. It can do 630 miles between charge

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A prototype Roader’s steering wheel and central display. Photograph: Tesla

As if record-breaking acceleration wasn’t enough, Musk said that the Roadster should be able to drive around 630 miles of motorway driving between charges with a 200kWh battery. The current top-rated distance for the Model S 100D at 55mph, at 20 Celsius, is 424 miles.

6. Four humans (of different sizes) will fit in it

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Two people in the front, two small people in the back. Photograph: Tesla

The Roadster is what is called a 2+2, meaning it has two full-size seats in the front and two smaller seats in the back, meaning that if you really wanted to you could probably squeeze four people into the car, as long as the rear passengers are small people.

Other 2+2 cars include Audi’s TT coupe and the Porsche 911.

7. It’ll cost you $200,000

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The Roadster certainly won’t be what most would consider affordable. Photograph: Tesla

The standard retail price of the so-called base model will start at $200,000 (£151,530) making it the most expensive Tesla to date above the £144,440 top of the line Model X.

However, even at the not insignificant sum of $200,000 the Roadster will actually be comparatively cheap for its performance levels. The Porsche 918 Spyder, for instance, cost about £780,000 when new, while the Bugatti Chiron costs about £2.5m.

The first 1,000 Roadsters sold will actually cost $250,000 and will be limited edition Founder’s Series.

8. You can’t get one until 2020

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The rear of the Roadster has various aerodynamic packages to keep it on the road. Photograph: Alexandria Sage/Reuters

Musk said the Roadster will go on sale in 2020, although that figure is speculative given the problems and delays Tesla has faced getting its other cars to market.

It’s already technically up for pre-order, however: as interested buyers who put down a $50,000 deposit at the Roadster’s launch event were able to have a ride in a prototype.

9. And the point is …

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Challenging petrol-driven performance cars … Tesla chief executive Elon Musk unveils the Roadster. Photograph: Reuters

Given Musk’s stated aim for Tesla was to make electric cars mainstream, starting with high-priced cars to fund the development of the cheaper and more mainstream Model 3, what’s the Roadster’s purpose?

“The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” said Musk at the launch. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

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