The Tesla 2020 second-generation Roadster is an incredibly ambitious follow-up to the company’s first vehicle, the 2008 Roadster. The 2008 model was the first highway-legal, serial production, all-electric car to use Lithium-Ion battery cells; and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles per charge.
By John Coulter, Current EV CMO
The 2020 supercharged electric iteration has gone light years beyond: it accelerates to 60mph in 1.9 seconds, 0 to 100 in 4.2 seconds, and a quarter mile in 8.8 seconds. It’s capable of speeds over 250mph and its battery has a range of 620 miles – three times the original Roadster’s range. Elon Musk wants to make one of the fastest cars in the world and it appears the 2020 Tesla Roadster achieves his wishes.
Yes, there are supercars that have posted faster times already: the Hennessey Venom F5, SSC Tuatara, Koenigsegg Agera RS, Bugatti Veyron, Aston Martin and McLaren have all reached speeds of 250 mph and beyond. But they’re all gas cars, using racecar technology from another era. They’ll soon be competing with a super e-car that uses a far more advanced speed generation process.
McLaren sold sold 4,806 cars in 2018; Aston Martin sold 6,441 cars in 2018; Bugatti averages sales of around 45 cars a year. Tesla is betting its Roadster will do better than these totals.
At a news conference Musk was asked about production numbers. His response was: “I don’t know, but it’s probably not more than 10,000 units per year.” That many cars may be a stretch. The 2020 Tesla Roadster’s base price is $200,000. Tesla is accepting reservations for the $250,000 Founders Series model that you can reserve for $50,000. The market for $200,000 supercars is relatively small. The second-gen Roadster will probably steal sales from some of the more expensive supercars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, etc.) because of its impressive performance. But 10,000 units at $200,000 each in one year may be hard to reach.
On the other hand, Porsche has already taken more than 30,000 orders for its pure electric Taycan supercar that’s priced at over $130,000 for its turbo version. And don’t forget that Tesla had 518,000 preorders for its Model 3, which netted 455,000 units (after refunds) as of the latest count.
An e-car with a 610-mile range that goes 250mph is beyond special. It’s got an off-the-charts charisma that’s hard to resist if you’re a fan of EVs and have the cash to buy one. With the EV Evolution/Revolution gaining warp speed, there are more and more people who fall in this category.
The next-gen Roadster’s aerodynamically sleek fuselage looks like it was transported back 100 years from the future. The American supercar will offer seating for four and feature a removable glass roof that stores in the trunk. The two seats in back are tight fits, but let’s face it; the Roadster wasn’t designed to be a passenger transport.
Musk has referenced the car’s optional SpaceX package, which consists of cold air thrusters installed on the vehicle to give it an incredible power boost. The CEO has mentioned a potential 3 Gs of thrust: “If you have 3 Gs of thrust, you can go in any direction. You can go up and accelerate with still more than 2 Gs.” It’s not the first time that Musk has claimed the new Roadster will be able to lift off the ground like a spaceship.
Musk says that Tesla plans to “erase any halo effect of gasoline cars” with the new Roadster. When it’s going to debut is a mystery. 2020 has been mentioned, but Tesla has a lot of other pressing priorities, including its Model Y SUV, Pickup Truck, Semi-Truck and its ongoing efforts to deliver the Model 3 internationally. It may be 2021 before the first Roadster orders are filled.