Elon Musk talks next-gen Tesla Roadster, hints at potentially having no mirrors, and more

Elon Musk discussed the next-gen Tesla Roadster in a new interview and hinted that the automaker could manage to find a way for owners to  have cameras instead of side mirrors like on the prototype (pictured above).

Different versions of that technology have been around for over a decade, but it was never deemed reliable enough despite the significant increase in electronics quality.

More recently, Tesla had a Model X prototype in 2013 without side mirrors in order to achieve greater aerodynamic performance.

The automaker instead replaced the mirrors with smaller cameras and planned to display the feeds in real-time inside the vehicle.

At the time, Musk said that he met with road safety authorities to try to get approval for the design since cars are currently required to have side view mirrors, but he said that he was unsuccessful.

During an interview (embedded below) with Youtuber Marques Brownlee, Musk appears to be interested in giving it another shot, but they might take a different approach this time:

“Manufacturers are required to have side mirrors [on their cars], but I believe that the owner is not.”

It sounds like Musk plans on delivering the new Roadster with side mirrors, but they could be removable by the owner.

The CEO estimates that the reduced drag could result in as much as 5% more range at highway speed.

Audi recently confirmed that it plans to release virtual mirrors with cameras in the new electric e-tron quattro, but it will be offered as an option in markets where it is legal.

In the interview, Musk also briefly talked about the next-gen Roadster’s massive 200 kWh battery pack.

He confirmed that they are using two layers of battery cells instead of one and that while it will be higher than a regular Tesla battery pack, it’s not twice the size since the two layers are still in a single battery pack enclosure:

“It’s like two Model S P100D battery packs, but you are really just doubling the internals – the set of cells inside.” He continued: “You can double the number of modules inside and it will still be about an 80% increase in the volume of the pack or 4-5 inches higher with current technology.”

Musk said that the production version would likely be better with newer battery cells and he insists that the interior will not be “cramped”.

He gave the examples of himself, his brother Kimbal Musk, and Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen, who are all between 6’1″ and 6’4″ and can fit easily in the car.

In a recent comment, Musk said that the ‘production design will be better, especially in details’.

Tesla plans to bring the vehicle to production in 2020.

Here’s the full interview:

Electrek’s Take

I couldn’t find any information about what Musk is referring to when it comes to side mirrors being a requirement for manufacturers but not the drivers.

Most markets require at least a mirror on the driver’s side.

That said, I think it could be a good idea to have the mirrors be removable. That way, owners can remove them for a track day or if regulations change in the future and allow for cameras, which the Roadster is already equipped with due to the Autopilot hardware suite, it will be easy to transition.

As for the battery pack, that’s basically what we already thought Tesla was doing for the next-gen Roadster.

When it comes to the interior space, I thought for sure that Marques would bring up the elusive back seat, but unfortunately, they didn’t talk about it.

That was a bummer.

Other than that though, some good new bits and pieces of info about the car.

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