Tesla makes a surprise return to the sportscar market
The second-generation Tesla Roadster (Tesla)
Published Friday, November 17, 2017 2:27PM EST
In recent weeks, Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk has been stirring up fans regarding the launch of its first ever long-haul truck. However, on Thursday night when the big rig was unveiled, there was a huge surprise for those present or watching via live stream -- an out-and-out sports coupe.
The very first ever Tesla model was a roadster and was based loosely on the Lotus Elise. When it went on sale in 2008 it quickly gained a cult following among environmentally conscious celebrities -- George Clooney was one of the first people to snap one up -- but it wasn't until the Model S came about that the rest of the world sat up and took notice.
Five years after the final mark I roadster was built, Tesla is returning to its roots with a totally new from the ground up sportscar, complete with targa removable hardtop.
However, this time, the car can hit 60mph from a standstill in 1.9 seconds and can go from zero to 160 km/h in 4.2 seconds. Most impressive of all is its quarter-mile time -- just 8.9 seconds. A performance statistic Musk was very quick to highlight as that figure makes the new roadster -- if it actually goes into widespread production -- the fastest road-legal drag-racing production car in history.
Even if it can't quite adhere to those figures when the first production examples roll out of the plant, as long as the company's battery claims hold up, most owners won't mind.
As well as a phenomenal turn of speed, the new roadster uses a 200kWh battery pack that offers a potential 1,000-kilometre range between charges. And that is a record for any production EV on the market.
When asked why Tesla had built a new roadster Musk said it was to totally change keen drivers' perceptions of electric performance cars. "The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars," he said. "[After driving the roadster] driving a sportscar is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche."
The company aims to make the new Roadster a production reality by decade's end, but questions still remain over Tesla's abilities to ramp up production of its current three-model portfolio to meet demand.
Going into plaid pic.twitter.com/OUU9s7CUwI— Tesla (@Tesla) November 17, 2017