Finally, two years after the Tesla Roadster stopped production, the two-seat electric roadster is getting a makeover. Tesla Motors recently announced that the Roadster is going to receive what the company is calling a 3.0 upgrade.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, stated that this will not be the last update for the first production car from the small company. The update should be a welcome one for current owners of the sports car.
The major factor of the upgrade is a new battery pack that will improve the efficiency of the Tesla Roadster’s range by nearly double. The original battery pack allowed the car to travel nearly 245 miles per charge and the new pack will allow for the car to travel over 400 miles per charge. To show this, Tesla will demonstrate the new range with a nonstop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Another part of the 3.0 upgrade for the Tesla Roadster will be an aero kit to be retrofitted. The aero kit will help the car by reducing drag by up to 15 percent. The improved drag will assist in the car attaining the new range.
The final part of the Tesla Roadster 3.0 upgrade is a set of new wheel bearings and high efficiency tires that will allow for a rolling resistance improvement by 20 percent. The upgrade package is a welcome addition for owners and moves the Roadster into a new realm of electric vehicles (EV).
With the upgrade package improving the cars range to 400 miles, the Roadster has the most range of any EV on the road. This includes the newer cars from Tesla, as well as other manufacturers. The 5+2 passenger Model S only has a range of 265 miles for the entry level 60 kilowatt-hour version and over 300 miles for the 85.
At this time, Tesla does not plan on rolling out new, 2015 models of the Roadster. The company is focused on selling the Model S and upcoming Model X SUV and the Model 3 coming soon. The 3.0 upgrade, at this time, will only be for the existing 2,150 models that were sold up to 2012.
Musk also indicated that there is not an upgraded battery pack coming out for the Model S at this time, however, he did indicate that it will come soon. With the recent upgrades to the Model S and the focus on the two new models, it was a welcome bit of news that the car that got the company started was not being forgotten. While some news outlets are saying that the Tesla Roadster is being relaunched, Musk gave no indication that new cars will be showing up in showrooms. This appears just to be a retrofit upgrade for existing cars. However, with the new specs, it would likely be a success if reintroduced as a 2015 or 2016 model.
The Roadster looks very similar to the Lotus Elise, and for good reason. Lotus had their hand in the Roadster, assisting with design and suspension to the little two seat electric road rocket. The two seater got a bad rap early on for various reasons. Limited places to charge the car up, and the BBC television program, Top Gear, made fun of the car, supposedly breaking two different cars during testing. However, the Tesla Roadster revolutionized the EV car world, and now with the 3.0 upgrade, it may end up being reborn as the EV to have, if a consumer does not need more than two seats.
By Carl Auer