Tesla Roadster 2020: 3 Things We Learned About Elon Musk’s Sleek Supercar

The new Roadster.

The second-generation Tesla Roadster was out on proud display Monday, amid the company’s investor event where it detailed its plans for fully autonomous driving. The upcoming electric supercar, expected to start at $200,000 when it hits roads in 2020, has dazzled onlookers with its high speed and range.

The vehicle is an ambitious follow-up to the company’s first-ever vehicle, the 2008 Roadster. The new iteration boasts 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of 1.9 seconds, 0 to 100 mph times of 4.2 seconds, and a quarter-mile in 8.8 seconds. It also reaches speeds of over 250 mph, and its 200-kilowatt-hour battery runs for 620 miles.

“Back when we created the company we said we’d build Tesla Roadster,” CEO Elon Musk said Monday at the Autonomy Investor Day hosted at its headquarters in Palo Alto, California. “They said it was impossible. And that even if we did build it, nobody would buy it. This was like universal opinion, that building an electric car was extremely dumb and would fail. I agree with them that probably the failure was high but that this was important.”

Watch the footage of the company’s follow-up below:

The new footage reveals a number of details about the second-generation Roadster, which has been largely shrouded in mystery since its November 2017 unveiling alongside the Tesla Semi electric truck.

1. It Has Some Unique Door Handles

The Roadster has a sleek exterior that makes it look like something straight out of a sci-fi graphic novel. Its cool curves may require some tweaking before launch, particularly as there are no side mirrors right now, but Tesla seems to have developed an ingenious way to eliminate the car’s door handles to make it look even more seamless.

Tesla Roadster door handles
Open sesame!

It makes for a stark difference from the handles that appear on the Model S and X that retract and self-present when the owner approaches, and the Model 3’s design where users press on the wider part of the handle to lever it open. The Roadster’s futuristic handles make it seem even more like Tesla is looking to stuff the vehicle with as many innovative ideas as possible — with Musk even announcing 10 optional rocket thrusters as part of a “SpaceX options package.”

2. Those Rear Seats Don’t Look Big

Get ready to squeeze in. While the two-door Roadster technically claims four seats, as opposed to the two seats in its predecessor, the two passengers in the back may feel like they’ve drawn the short straw:

The Roadster's rear seats.
The Roadster's rear seats.

Those passengers may miss out on a proper headrest, unlike the plush thrones that make up the front row. Tesla fans have also made unfavorable comparisons to the upcoming Model Y’s third row. While the extra two seats are a welcome addition, it seems the best rides will remain reserved for the front passengers.

Fortunately, the car is probably going to receive some design tweaks before launch.

3. The Design is Probably Still Not Complete

It’s a fairly safe bet that Tesla will refine the design ahead of launch. There’s no instrument cluster on the dashboard for starters, and while the Model 3 has dropped the indicators, they remain on the S and X and are rumored for inclusion in an upcoming upgrade. The central touch panel is also still in the traditional portrait orientation seen on the S and X, even though the 3 uses a landscape design that’s rumored to make its way over to the more expensive vehicles.

Roadster's current interior.
Roadster's current interior.

It’s also largely unchanged from launch, despite Musk promising design tweaks:

As the Model 3 went through a series of design iterations before its launch, it’s probably a safe bet that Tesla will make some changes too.