Update: ‘Will outperform the Model S Plaid’ section updated.
Tesla fans and reservation holders of the Roadster must be hoping that the long wait would be worth it. The current Model S already seems like the ultimate performance car from the EV maker, and the Tesla Roadster would need to surpass its sibling first to be the brand’s flagship. Wondering how fast the Roadster might be? Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has an answer.
On the original Tesla Roadster
The debut of the Tesla Roadster in 2008 marked a watershed moment in the evolution of zero-emissions electric vehicles. It was Tesla’s first attempt to build an EV. It drew a massive crowd because it demonstrated that a high-performance electric car could be used in everyday life.
The first Tesla Roadster had a 53 kWh battery that powered a rear motor. Tesla did not build the original Roadster on a dedicated EV platform. Instead, it licensed the chassis from Lotus and used drivetrain technology from start-up AC Propulsion, working around the clock on the integration and making extensive changes to the chassis.
YouTuber Marques Brownlee drove a 2008 model for a few days and had said (via YouTube/Auto Focus) it was ahead of its time in many ways. Be it the 244-mile range, the 3.7-second 0-60 acceleration, or the raw experience that’s comparable to a gas-powered sports car, the original Roadster helped the company learn how to build EVs.
The original Roadster was never Tesla’s ultimate goal. Instead, it demonstrated the ludicrous performance that EVs could be capable of, paving the way for the now-successful Tesla EVs, including the Model S, X, 3, and Y.
Will outperform the Model S Plaid
In a conversation with Ride the Lightning podcast’s host Ryan McCaffrey on January 15, 2023, Tesla’s Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen said the Roadster will perform better on every metric than when it was first conceived. Franz cited the unhinged performance of the Model S Plaid which, despite its mass, fulfills every metric the company had set for it. Then, it stands to reason that the smaller and lighter Roadster will outperform the sedan. While there have been delays, the time afforded has been invaluable in improving the Roadster, the Chief Designer stated.
Before November 16, 2017, and ahead of the 2023 Tesla Roadster debut, ‘Ludicrous’ denoted Tesla’s highest possible performance spec or mode. During the unveiling of the new generation Roadster, Musk said, “There’s only one thing beyond Ludicrous, and that’s Plaid.” “The new Tesla Roadster will be the fastest car (production car) ever made, period,” Musk said, displaying a 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 1.9 seconds for the 2023 Roadster. The world assumed that was the performance Tesla aimed for with the all-new Roadster in Plaid mode.
From June 2021 onwards, Tesla began selling the Model S in a ‘Plaid’ variant with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 1.99 seconds and subtracted rollout time. The rollout is the distance any car takes to get off the line. Including the rollout, the 0-60 mph time would be just over 2 seconds, which is still mind-bogglingly fast. We don’t know how far ahead the Roadster would be in terms of performance compared to the Model S Plaid, but Musk has promised that the two-door model will outperform the Model S Plaid.
“We have a few ideas for increasing torque & max rpm even further for new Roadster,” Musk said in a post on Twitter on June 13, 2021. “Definitely fun and exciting engineering ahead!” he added. The Model S Plaid uses three electric motors to produce 1,020 hp and 1,050 lb-ft for reference.
Musk has stated that Tesla will offer the new Roadster with the optional ‘SpaceX package,’ which includes cold air thrusters around the car to improve top speed, braking, and cornering. When the CEO announced in January 2021, he stated that the SpaceX package would allow the Roadster to accelerate even faster, from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.1 seconds. At this point, the acceleration figures appear just unbelievable. We’ll have to wait for the production version to make it to the drag strips to witness the performance with our own eyes.
Working feverishly on it says Tesla design boss
On February 9, 2022, von Holzhausen, stated in Spike’s Car Radio podcast that the Roadster will be “an exciting flying machine” and that “defying gravity is an interesting idea.” Tesla is working feverishly on the new Roadster, the design boss added. He said the company’s engineers have learned a lot from the Model S Plaid. He stated that the Plaid’s lessons would result in an even better Roadster than the brand had imagined.
Tesla Roadster Interior
The next-gen Roadster has a minimalistic interior, which is typical of a Tesla. It features a sleek dashboard with carbon-fiber trim, a spaceship-themed steering yoke, and a curved, super-slim bridge-type center console that houses a large portrait touchscreen. A hollowed section below the center console provides extra storage for slightly large items like a grocery bag or a handbag. The central armrest houses a cupholder.
Tesla, much like Apple, has a certain way of doing things, which is not customer-friendly in some cases. Unlike other car companies that have embraced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Tesla has avoided offering integration for these platforms. Current Teslas are devoid of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant as well. However, things are changing. In December 2022, the company introduced Apple Music support for its vehicles via a software update.
At least one of the Roadster configurations will have four seats, and while the rear seats might not be comfortable for adults, it’s a rare feature in supercars. The car has a removable glass roof storable in the trunk.
Tesla will likely offer Autopilot as standard and Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving (FSD) as options in the next-gen Roadster. Basic Autopilot enables the car to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane.
Enhanced Autopilot, which costs USD 6,000 across the current range, brings several additional hands-free driving capabilities. It allows autonomous driving on highways along with automatic lane change and enables automatic parallel and perpendicular parking and Smart Summon functions. FSD, the name of which could change by the time of the next-gen Roadster’s arrival, gives the car the capability to identify stop signs and traffic lights and automatically slow down where required. In the future, it will enable automatic steering on city streets.
Tesla Roadster release date
At the Cyber Rodeo event at Giga Texas on April 7, 2022, Musk revealed a more realistic timeline for the arrival of new Teslas, including the Roadster.
Production of Cybertruck is coming next year (2023). We will be in production with Roadster, and with Semi. That’s all coming. This year is all about scaling up and next year there’s going to be a massive wave of new products.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla, at the Cyber Rodeo event on April 7, 2022
However, these EVs have been in development for a long time. Since 2017, there have been multiple new launch dates. Musk stated when unveiling the all-new Roadster in November 2017: “Expect this to be available in 2020.” Then, in a tweet in January 2021, Musk stated that Tesla intends to complete engineering on the all-new Roadster in 2021 and begin production in 2022. The company hoped to make the second-generation Tesla Roadster variant (release design candidate) drivable by summer 2021.
While the all-new Roadster continues to be delayed year after year, the design is a crowd-puller. Tesla is taking every opportunity to remind fans and customers what it is working on. On April 7, 2022, the company showcased the model at the Giga Texas factory during the Cyber Rodeo event. Twitter user StargazerPlaid shared live pictures (above) of the future Tesla model enthralling fans almost five years after its premiere.
A white clay model of the next-gen Roadster is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until October 22, 2023. A dedicated Tesla section at the museum has Tesla’s past and future vehicles in attendance, including clay models, prototypes, as well as the Tesla Bot, 4680 cells, the metal ball that von Holzhausen flinged to shatter the Cybertruck’s window glass!
Video Source: YouTube/Tesla
Many reasons have repeatedly pushed back the launch of the next-generation Roadster, and the company’s priorities may have shifted. Suppose no further problems arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage, the all-new Roadster could be available in 2023—a staggering five-year gap between product announcement and market launch, which is quite unusual for tech giants like Tesla.
Assuming 2022 is not mega drama, new Roadster should ship in 2023.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla, in September 2021 (via Twitter)
Musk explained why Tesla is avoiding the launch of new models for the time being during the Q4 2021 and full year 2021 earnings conference call. He stated that introducing new models would have no immediate impact on the company’s sales volume and would necessitate even more resources.
If we had introduced, say, a new car last year, we would — our total vehicle output would have been the same because of the constraints — the chips constraints, particularly. So, if we’d actually introduced an additional product, that would then require a bunch of attention and resources on that increased complexity of the additional product, resulting in fewer vehicles actually being delivered.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla (Q4 2021 and full year 2021 earnings conference call on January 26, 2022).
Before introducing a new model, the company will wait for component supply to normalize. This seems like a logical decision given how ambitious EV makers cannot stick to new models’ initial delivery schedules because of unprecedented global supply chain problems. Tesla plans to use 2022 to develop further and improve existing vehicles, including the all-new Roadster. The company last introduced a new model (the Model Y) in March 2020.
So, we will not be introducing new vehicle models this year. It would not make any sense because we’ll still be parts constrained. We will, however, do a lot of engineering and tooling and whatnot to create those vehicles, Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster, Optimus, and be ready to bring those to production hopefully next year.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla (Q4 2021 and full year 2021 earnings conference call on January 26, 2022)
Musk anticipates that the supply chain will be back to normal by the end of 2023. Tesla could then begin producing its eye-catching all-new Roadster, which we expect will include its next-generation EV technologies, including an electronics-intensive hardware package.
New Matchbox Tesla Roadster
For kids and die-cast car collectors, Mattel has introduced a new 1:64 scale model of the next-gen Tesla Roadster from its Matchbox brand. Painted in Satin Pearl White, it costs USD 20. It’s the most expensive 1:64 scale model of the 2023 Tesla Roadster as it’s a collector’s edition item and an eco-friendly product.
The new Matchbox Tesla Roadster (SKU#: HHY23) is the first die-cast vehicle Mattel has made from 99% recycled materials. It’s the first certified CarbonNeutral Mattel die-cast model from the popular toymaker. The company has used 62.1% recycled Zinc for the body, 36.9% recycled plastic for the windows, chassis, wheels, and interior, and water-based paint on the car. Moreover, at least 50% of the stainless steel it has used for the car’s wheels is recycled. Lastly, the car’s packaging is plastic-free and made of recycled FSC-certified materials.
Specifications & Features
With its last three launches, Tesla has learned valuable lessons about introducing new technology to the market. If the company delivers on what was promised at the prototype’s unveiling in 2017, there is no doubt that the 2023 Tesla Roadster has the potential to be the new benchmark in electric vehicles, offering hypercar-level performance with everyday usability.
Acceleration & Top speed
The all-new Roadster sits on a dedicated EV platform and will maximize high-performance and efficiency with spectacular figures: 0-62 mph in less than 1.9 seconds, wheel torque of 7,475 lb-ft (10,000 Nm), top speed of over 250 mph (402 km/h). In addition, it will feature an all-wheel-drive layout with torque vectoring (one electric motor at the front, two at the rear). With these specifications, it should outperform most combustion-engined supercars.
Battery, Charging & Range
The Tesla Roadster prototype features a 200 kWh battery that supports charging at 350 kW DC and offers a range of 620 miles (997 km) at highway speeds, the longest driving range on a production EV. We wonder how Tesla has managed to fit such a large battery pack onto a compact sports car. The Hummer EV also has a massive 200+ kWh battery, and we know how gigantic the Hummer’s frame is.
Tesla 4680 Battery Cell
Tesla will deploy its new 4680 battery cell format in the 2023 Roadster. The company has named the new format after its dimensions: 80 mm in length and around 46 mm in diameter. Andrew Baglino, Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Tesla, has said that the 4680 cells can offer far more power and increased range. The new tabless cell technology’s advantages include reduced battery pack size and cost/kWh as well.
We get five times the energy with six times the power, and enable 16% range increase just (from the change in) form factor alone.Andrew Baglino, Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Tesla (Tesla Battery Day 2020)
Tesla had produced 1 million 4680 cells at its Kato road pilot production plant by January 2022. Currently, the 4680 cells are rolling out of the Tesla Giga Texas plant in series production. In addition to the 4680 cells, the Tesla Giga Texas plant assembles the company’s first high-volume structural battery pack consisting of the same cells. The Model Y (Standard Range) is the brand’s first car to receive the new cells.
Tesla is now making more than 850,000 (4680) cells per week, the company revealed in a post on Twitter on December 25, 2022. That week, the company manufactured enough to power more than 1,000 EVs (Model Ys). It should significantly ramp up 4680 cell production by the time it launches the next-gen Roadster.
Tesla could source the cells for the redesigned Roadster’s battery pack from Panasonic, LG, or Samsung. On June 1, 2022, Reuters reported that Tesla had started receiving 4680 cell samples from Panasonic. A pilot production line was created in Japan and high-volume production of 4680 cell prototypes began in May 2022, Kazuo Tadanobu, President and CEO, Panasonic Energy, said.
Panasonic Energy is building a new lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in De Soto (Kansas), USA. The company has confirmed that it will make 2170 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries there initially. Later, it could make the more advanced, 4680 batteries as well. It plans to commence mass production by March 2025.
On June 13, 2022, LG Energy Solutions announced it will manufacture 4680 cells at the Ochang plant no.2 in South Korea. On June 16, 2022, Hankyung (The Korea Economic Daily) said in an exclusive report that Samsung SDI will develop Tesla-spec 4680 cells and install a pilot production line for the same at its Cheonan plant in South Korea. Mass production will start in 2025. The report also said that Tesla has asked LG Energy Solutions to supply 4680 cells.
2023 Tesla Roadster price
Tesla initially priced the new Roadster at USD 200,000 in the base trim and USD 250,000 in the priority-delivery (first 1,000 units) Founder’s Series trim. While reservations are still open, Tesla has removed the prices from its website. In the U.S., customers need to place a deposit of USD 50,000; an initial USD 5,000 credit card payment, and then a USD 45,000 wire transfer payment due in 10 days. Perhaps, Tesla removed prices because it can no longer promise the initially announced prices for new reservations. The company could announce a price hike closer to the launch.
The original Roadster still turns heads
As the launch of the next-gen Roadster draws closer, interest in the first-gen model is growing. Many potential buyers believe it could become a collectible piece in the future. In February 2022, Pete Gruber of Gruber Motor Company told Electrek that a first-gen Roadster was sold at a record-high USD 190,000 recently. Soon after, a 2008 model with VIN 13 and just 840 miles on the odometer went for well over USD 250,000!
According to a listing on the car auction website cars & bids, a ‘Very Orange’ 2010 Roadster that has clocked only 2,000 miles fetched USD 139,050, the same as its MSRP, including USD 28,100 in options. The car looks in pristine condition, and all its new owner would need to spend on would be new tires, as currently, it’s riding on rubber made in 2009.
The next-gen Tesla Roadster will compete with the likes of Maserati GranTurismo Folgore and Fisker Ronin initially. By mid-decade, it will also have to contend with exciting new electric cars like the Polestar 6 and the Chevrolet Corvette Electric.
Most anticipated EV
According to a search volume data analysis conducted by Lease Fetcher on Google searches, the Tesla Roadster came out as the most anticipated EV of 2023, on a global level. Data showed that users searched for the model a total of 6,960,000 times in 2022, which means an average of 580,000 searches per month. On a per-country level, the Roadster garnered a total of 2,424,000 searches on Google in the U.S. for 2022, with the U.K. coming in a distant second place due to its total search volume being only 360,000 over the same period.
The all-new Tesla Roadster may be long overdue now, but when it finally arrives in 2023 (we hope), it should prove the wait was worth it. Packing aerospace-derived technologies and a bevy of innovations, the 2023 model will likely revolutionize the sports car market. The next-generation Roadster will be as intense as a hardcore roller coaster, meaning it won’t be for the faint-hearted enthusiast. In all likeliness, it would be more extreme than what Tesla promised with Plaid at the convertible concept’s debut in 2017. The team working on the project is hinting at performance levels that lift the car off the ground!
Tesla has demonstrated in recent years that electric vehicles can be desirable, high-performance, and used as everyday vehicles. Musk’s company has an advantage over traditional automakers because it attracts some of the world’s best talent, thanks to its facilities in Silicon Valley. Furthermore, the figures show how Tesla has become the go-to brand for EV buyers. Despite a challenging supply-chain situation and chip shortage, Tesla manufactured 929,910 EVs and delivered 908,573 EVs in the first three quarters of 2022.
2023 Tesla Roadster FAQs
What is the new Tesla Roadster release date?
We expect the launch of the new Tesla Roadster in the second half of 2023.
What will be the new Tesla Roadster price?
The new Tesla Roadster will likely cost USD 200,000 onwards.
Featured image: Tesla