Tesla Roadster, the company’s upcoming supercar, is gearing up for some design changes ahead of launch.
The high-performance electric car, first unveiled in 2017, was spotted this week at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. Fans shared photos and videos of a prototype model displayed alongside other landmarks in automotive history.
In response to the images, Musk posted on Twitter Wednesday night:
“Production article will look different (better).”
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It’s a key glimpse at a vehicle that’s remained elusive since its 2017 unveiling. While it was originally expected to launch in 2020, Musk described the vehicle in 2019 as “dessert” and suggested that more mass-market vehicles would take priority. Based on a January 2021 post from Musk on Twitter, the vehicle is now expected to enter production in 2022.
Watch the vehicle’s appearance this week in the video below:
The Roadster is set to feature impressive specs, with 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of 1.9 seconds, a top speed of over 250 mph, and a battery range of 620 miles.
Further images were shared on Reddit by a user called “TheStargazerLover”:
But Musk’s post suggests the shiny supercar may look slightly different from its museum appearances this week.
As noted by Ryan McCaffrey, executive editor of previews at IGN, the original prototype was unveiled four years ago — “a long time in car years!”
Some areas that may receive changes include the side mirrors, currently missing from prototype versions. Musk hinted in 2018 that while manufacturers have to ship cars with side mirrors, the owners are not required to use them, suggesting Tesla may ship removable mirrors. )The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration hinted in 2020 it may explore the option of using cameras instead of side mirrors.)
The Roadster also currently seems to lack door handles. This feature may carry over to the final version, as Musk claimed in March 2021 that the final version of the Cybertruck will ditch the handles spotted on the prototype models.
The Peterson Automotive Museum also shared images of the Roadster on display at the museum:
Tesla next-gen Roadster: what are the specs?
The Roadster offers an impressive array of specs. At the car’s unveiling in 2017, Musk described it as a “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”
- Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph of 1.9 seconds.
- Acceleration from 0 to 100 mph of 4.2 seconds.
- Acceleration over a quarter mile to 8.8 seconds.
- Top speed of over 250 mph.
- Battery range of 620 miles.
- Seating for four.
Tesla next-gen Roadster: how is it priced?
The base version of the Roadster will cost $200,000, with a reservation fee of $50,000. A Founders Series version will cost $250,000, and the full price is required as a reservation fee.
Musk has teased luxury additional extras like a “SpaceX options package,” which will use compressed air behind the license plate to act as a rocket thruster. Musk described it in 2020 as “like full-on James Bond.”
Tesla next-gen Roadster: when will it launch?
The big question. The car was first unveiled in 2017 alongside the Tesla Semi electric truck, with an estimated launch date of 2020.
Musk dropped hints over the years since then that the Roadster is a low priority for Tesla. Unlike mass-market vehicles like the Model Y compact SUV or the upcoming Cybertruck pickup truck, the Roadster is expected to sell in limited numbers.
In January 2021, Musk suggested the car would reach consumers in 2022, five years after it was first unveiled:
“Finishing engineering this year, production starts next year. Aiming to have release candidate design drivable late summer. Tri-motor drive system & advanced battery work were important precursors.”
In May 2021, Musk revealed plans to hand over the first Model S sedans with the new Plaid powertrain at a company event on June 3. With the rollout of Tesla’s high-performance powertrain underway, the Roadster could finally be reaching the finish line.
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