Today is the 10-year anniversary of the official debut of the Tesla Roadster, Tesla’s very first vehicle, which also effectively launched the automaker out of ‘stealth mode’. The vehicle debuted on July 19, 2006 at the Santa Monica Airport with more than 350 people attending the event.
The Roadster was the first phase of Elon Musk’s ‘Secret Master Plan’ for Tesla. The automaker is now in the last phase of that plan and Musk is reportedly about to unveil a second part outlining the company’s future.
But while we wait for the second part of the plan, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to remember the Roadster on its 10-year anniversary. Expand Expanding Close
Little is known about the vehicle at this point, but it doesn’t stop rendering artists to try to help envision the possible design of the car. And these latest renderings are pretty impressive. Expand Expanding Close
In the past, I have complained about mainstream media consistently putting all electric vehicles in the same melting-pot with no or very little regard for vehicle segments, or anything else than the powertrain really. I think EV enthusiasts are already very aware of this problem, but I still want to highlight this latest example because it’s simply a great one.
A Chinese startup backed by Beijing CH-Auto, Qiantu Motor, announced a new factory to build its first vehicle, the Qiantu K50 (pictured above), an all-electric roadster, which the media are presenting as a direct competitor to the Tesla Model S, a sedan. Expand Expanding Close
We haven’t heard much about this new version of Tesla’s first vehicle since Musk’s comment, but last week a company representative revealed a few more information, although vague, about the upcoming sports car. Expand Expanding Close
Tesla Motors sent an email Monday morning to all Roadster owners to confirm the expansion of its battery upgrade program to now include early models, which were excluded until recently. Earlier this summer, Tesla released the details of its long-awaited battery upgrade for its first vehicle, but a lot of owners were disappointed to learn that it was only available to later versions of the all-electric sport car.
Now every owner with $29,000 to spare gets access to the upgrade which increases the range of the vehicle by about 35%. Expand Expanding Close
Taken at face value, the Tesla Roadster 340-mile trip from San Jose to Santa Monica in California is a significant milestone. The direct drive in under 6 hours all without refueling will leave most EV owners’ mouths agape. There was even 40 minutes with the heater turned on and that huge climb (and subsequent decent) out of the Grapevine.
As we announced in December, the Roadster 3.0 upgrade will feature enhancements in battery cell technology, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance. These modifications should boost the Roadster’s range by 40 to 50%.
But I think this is bigger. This shows what the technologies Tesla has developed mean for the next generation of EVs. It means the Model X, even with its higher profile and expanded room, will be able to still handily be able to make it between Superchargers in the winter. Even more importantly, it shows that Tesla can make a BMW 3-series sized car go 200 miles with a lot less battery that previously expected.
If the new pack in the Roadster has 70kWh and goes 400 miles, doing a little math and guesswork, you only need about 45kWh to get a slightly bigger car to go 200 miles. (Assuming the car lies between the 35kWh and the 60kWh for the Model S with 200 mile range).
And that’s assuming technology stands still between now and then.