2023 Tesla Roadster: Everything we know in May 2022 [Update]

Update: ‘Tesla Roadster release date’ 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 accelerated from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. It had a 53 kWh battery that powered the rear wheel-driven motor.

On the other hand, Tesla did not build the 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. 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

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.

Tesla Roadster front three quarter
The Tesla Roadster would come with the ‘SpaceX package’ consisting of cold air thrusters around the car to improve top speed, braking, and cornering. Image: Tesla

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.

SpaceX package

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.

2022-Tesla-Roadster-unveil-Tesla-Semi-Elon-Musk
Tesla was expected to put the second-generation Roadster on the market in 2020 initially, but the product has been repeatedly delayed. Image Source: youtube.com/Tesla

Working feverishly on it says Tesla design boss

Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, stated on Spike’s Car Radio podcast on February 9, 2022, that the Roadster will be “an exciting flying machine” and that “defying gravity is an interesting idea.”

On the podcast, Holzhausen stated that the American EV manufacturer is working feverishly on the new Tesla Roadster. According to the design boss, Tesla engineers have learned a lot from the Model S Plaid. Tesla claims it has a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 1.9 seconds, not counting the first foot after the car gets off the line. He stated that the Plaid’s lessons would result in an even better Roadster than the brand had imagined.

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, 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.

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)

Elon 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 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.

Tesla Roadster rear three quarter
The Tesla Roadster prototype has a 200 kWh battery that supports supercharging at 350 kW DC and offers a range of 620 miles (997 km) at highway speeds. Final specs are awaited. Image: Tesla

Specifications & Features

Tesla has learned some 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.

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 7475 lb-ft (10,000 Nm), top speed of over 250 mph (402 kmph). 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.

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. In addition, it features seating for two or four in its state-of-the-art cabin featuring a removable glass roof storable in the trunk.

In other news, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Tesla a patent for its laser windshield wiper in September 2021, filed in May 2019. According to reports, this technology, titled “Pulsed Laser Cleaning of Debris Accumulated on Glass Articles in Vehicles and Photovoltaic Assemblies,” could be used in future iterations of the Roadster and Cybertruck.

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 Roadster side profile
A small footprint, an incredibly aerodynamic design, and powerful electric motors would make the Tesla Roadster a rocketship on wheels. Image: Tesla

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.

Before the next-gen Roadster, the Cybertruck and several other Teslas will get battery packs consisting of 4680 cells. By the time of the all-new Roadster’s launch, Tesla should have perfected the new cell technology.

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 launch.

The Roadster does not appear on Tesla’s front page, which may mislead visitors into thinking that reservations are closed. However, as of May 2022, the reservations seem to be open on Tesla’s website in the inner page.

Tesla has demonstrated in recent years that electric vehicles can be desirable, high-performance, and used as everyday vehicles. Tesla 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 305,000 vehicles and delivered over 310,000 EVs in the first quarter 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. Production could begin in mid-2023.

What will be the new Tesla Roadster price?

The new Tesla Roadster will cost USD 200,000 onwards.

Which are the Tesla Roadster competitors?

The Roadster will compete with cars like the Fisker Ronin and Maserati GranTurismo Folgore.

Featured image: Tesla