New Tesla Roadster: launch date pushed back to 2022

Elon Musk has confirmed that the new Tesla Roadster won’t go on sale until next year – although it will have the firm’s new Plaid powertrain

The second-generation Tesla Roadster has been delayed until 2022. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, recently announced the project’s shifting timescale on Twitter, confirming that the car is currently being pushed through the final stages of its development programme.

Once the Roadster is finished, though, Musk promises that it’ll set new benchmarks for electric car range and performance. The brand has already shown the potential of its latest battery and powertrain technology with the new Model S Plaid, which has a maximum output of 1,006bhp and an impressive claimed range of more than 520 miles.

There will be some part sharing between the Model S Plaid and the Roadster, which should help to speed development along. However, unlike its predecessor, the Mk2 Roadster no longer occupies a class of its own – it will wade into an increasingly populated marketplace of pure-electric sports cars, including the Lotus Evija, Pininfarina Battista and APEX AP-0.

New Tesla Roadster: chassis and powertrain

Musk says the Tesla Roadster was designed to “give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.” His most recent announcement confirmed the car will feature a version of the brand’s freshly developed three-motor “Plaid” powertrain.

The system has already found a home in the updated Model S, where it produces 1,006bhp – enough for a 0–60mph time of 1.9 seconds and a top speed of 200mph. However, Tesla will push the powertrain even further, once it’s been shoehorned into the Roadster.

Musk has already claimed that the Roadster will have the same 1.9-second 0–60mph time, but the sports car’s top speed will climb to 250mph. What’s more, the Roadster’s 0–100mph time could be as little as 4.2 seconds, which is faster than the Porsche Cayman GTS can accelerate from 0–62mph.

Like the Model S Plaid, the Roadster’s chassis will feature two electric motors on the rear axle and one on the front axle – and Elon says they’ll have a combined torque figure of 10,000Nm. Tesla also claims that its new flagship EV will cover the standing quarter mile in 8.8 seconds, making it the first production car to crack the nine-second barrier.

However, the Roadster has been designed with more than outright speed in mind. The motors will be powered by a 200kWh battery pack, which is almost twice the size of any other electric car battery currently on the market. Tesla says the unit will provide a maximum range of 620 miles.

Exactly how Tesla will screw 620 miles out a battery pack is yet to be properly explained – although the company did hold a conference last year in which it outlined a planned shift from traditional cylindrical cells to a more energy-dense “shingle-lattice” design. 

Tesla says the new batteries can store more electricity, while retaining the same dimensions as the outgoing system – and, thanks to new silicon anodes rather than traditional graphite anodes, the cells should also be cheaper to produce.

Despite this focus on performance and range, though, Tesla remains adamant that the Roadster will be a practical means of transport. It’ll have a 2+2 seating layout – and, while Musk has conceded that “giant people” will struggle to fit in the rear, he has boasted that there’ll be plenty of storage space in the car’s nose and tail.

As suggested by its name, the Roadster features a convertible roof. However, rather than getting an electrically retractable hardtop, buyers are offered a manually removable glass panel for the middle of the supercar’s roof, which is stowed in the car’s boot. Tesla is yet to officially reveal the car’s interior.

New Tesla Roadster: pricing and line-up

Despite production being delayed until 2022, Tesla has already started taking reservations for the Roadster. Prices for the entry-level model are expected to start from around £151,000, with customers being asked to place a £38,000 deposit.

Tesla will also launch a special edition Founders Series model, which will be limited to just 1,000 examples. A final price is yet to be confirmed – but the company has confirmed that buyers will be expected to place a £189,000 deposit just to secure their build slot.

Musk also hinted at a version “beyond the base model," which could deliver even more performance. In addition, the Tesla chief has confirmed that a Space X option package will be available on the Roadster. The upgrade pack celebrates a recent successful rocket launch by Musk’s aerospace company, although its specs are yet to be confirmed.

What do you make of the Tesla Roadster’s claimed performance figures? Let us know in the comments section below…

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