Saturday, November 18, 2017

New Tesla Roadster First Look: Zero to 60 in 1.9 Seconds, 250-MPH Top Speed, 620-Mile Range

Tesla Roadster front 3/4

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If Elon Musk had been holding a microphone during the big reveal event for the upcoming Tesla semi, he could have dropped it a dozen times, especially when a little red sports car emerged from the back of one of two Tesla semi prototypes on hand. While being dramatically backlit and surrounded by the haze from a smoke machine, the car crept down the trailer ramp, turned away from the assembled crowd of VIPs and journalists, and rocketed away as if propelled by a silent thermonuclear explosion. With that, Tesla resurrected the Roadster.

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When a prototype of the car finally reappeared after a couple of fast, silent passes, Musk provided just a few comments and details, including confirmation that, yes, the long-awaited follow-up to Tesla’s first car was indeed happening. “People asked us for a long time, ‘When are you going to make a new Roadster?’ We are making it now.”

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Tesla Roadster rear 3/4

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As they are wont to do at Tesla events, the crowd went wild, clearly not bothered at all by the fact that this version is no “roadster” in the traditional “sporty, two-seat convertible” sense but is, rather, a four-seat sports car with a removable glass roof panel. That makes it more akin to a Porsche 911 Targa than anything else, albeit without the complicated power top. Nor, for that matter, is Tesla “making it now” in the sense that you can pop by one of the company’s retail centers today and drive one home: the new Roadster supposedly will be available in 2020. Of course, Tesla isn’t the best at meeting deadlines, so it remains to be seen if that target date will indeed be hit.

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We may be willing to overlook those semantic inaccuracies if the proffered numbers hold up. Zero to 60 mph could take as little as a mind-bending 1.9 seconds, Musk said, with ­zero to 100 mph being accomplished in just 4.2. The claimed quarter-mile time of 8.8 seconds is truly hard to fathom, while the car’s projected top speed is more than 250 mph—and “this is the base model,” he said, without providing any hints of what other versions the company might have planned.

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Tesla Roadster interior

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Musk didn’t provide any details about the three electric motors the car will use, except that they will provide 7376 lb-ft of torque at the wheels and there will be one in front and two in back, which means the Roadster will be all-wheel drive. Musk also asserted that this new Roadster will be the first production car to hit 60 in less than two seconds or cover a quarter-mile in less than nine. The car’s capacious 200-kWh battery pack was also touted, enabling, it was claimed, a massive 620 miles of highway range. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche,” said Musk.

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Tesla Roadster front

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The Roadster’s exterior design is quite beautiful, if not as striking as that of, say, a Bugatti Chiron, one of the only cars that may be able to keep up with the thing. It’s also not quite as distinctive as a McLaren 570GT, a car with which it will compete on price, with the electric model already advertised to start at $200,000; Tesla says that $250K will snag one of the 1000 Founders Series launch models, although no other details were given about those. (Naturally, Tesla invites customers to reserve a Roadster now for $50,000; reservations for the Founders Series version cost the full $250,000.)

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Tesla Roadster targa roof closed

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We hope that the next-generation Model X and Model S will adopt some of the Roadster’s more successful design elements, such as the contoured hood and the curvy body sculpting. The interior appears relatively austere, too, but that’s something of a Tesla hallmark at this point.

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We’ll bring you more details as they become available, presumably accompanied by the sound of mics dropping.

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Tesla Roadster front 3/4

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