2020 tesla roadster

Going beyond Ludicrous and straight into Plaid
by Jonathan Lopez, on November 17, 2017, 21:38

Back in 2008, a little upstart EV company named Tesla threw a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a Lotus Elise and called it the Roadster. It was the very first model to bear the Tesla badge, and it was the first highway-legal series production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles in a single charge. Now, nearly 10 years and several remarkable models later, Tesla is at it again, revealing a second-generation Roadster in a surprise debut alongside its new all-electric semi truck. While it’s still several years away from hitting public roads, Tesla dropped a variety of specs and numbers for the Roadster 2.0, and long story short, this thing is shaping up to be an absolute monster. If it really can do everything that Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims it can, the second-gen Roadster will set numerous performance records, including quickest to 60 mph, quickest to 100 mph, and quickest in the quarter mile. And that includes internal combustion-based production vehicles, by the way. It’ll also set new standards for EVs in the realms of range per charge and top speed. This is faster than Insane Mode. This is faster than Ludicrous Mode. This, dear readers, is straight up Plaid.

While we knew Tesla had a new Roadster coming down the pipeline, few would have guessed what it might be capable of. We even put together a speculative piece about a potential Tesla supercar a while back, but it turns out the California automaker combined the two ideas into one incredible world-beater. “The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” says Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is gonna feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” Indeed, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is framed as a bona fide halo car, an ultra-quick speed machine that’ll show Tesla’s true performance potential. Read on for the details.

Updated 11/17/2017: Tesla just revealed the new Roadster!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

Exterior

  • Most aggressive design Tesla has ever made
  • Compact dimensions
  • Active aerodynamic elements

While the original Roadster showed its Lotus bones through the bodywork, the Roadster 2.0 is all-new. It looks like the progeny of a Model 3 and modern Acura NSX, with the familiar Tesla fascia, now drawn back and pointy with slim arrow-like headlights that fall into hugely flared fenders. The stance is low and wide, with prominent cuts in the lower front bumper, side skirts, and rear end. The proportions move the cabin back, enhancing the front hoodline.

Yeah, you know it looks good. In fact, we’d say we pretty much nailed it with our original Tesla supercar rendering –

Note: TopSpeed Tesla Supercar rendering pictured here.

Of course, it’s not the most streamlined Tesla we’ve ever seen, but we like it like that. Drag doesn’t seem to be a major problem here, as you’ll find out in the drivetrain section below. What’s more, it’s obvious the Tesla Roadster 2.0 comes equipped with active aero elements that will surely keep it planted while exploring the car’s absurd speed potential, then recede back to eke out a few more miles while cruising.

Interior

  • Large touchscreen provides the inputs
  • Highly bolstered sports seats
  • Clean layout and design
  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • “Capacious” storage space
  • Targa top offers unlimited headroom

The space age aggression continues inside, where we find a simple dash and control layout. The user inputs are dominated by a large touchscreen, which stretches down through the center of the cabin to provide readouts on navigation, road speed, and similar stats. The seats are contoured and highly bolstered, while the color scheme incorporates large swaths of primary colors that enhance the natural “clean” feel of the layout.

The steering wheel is a tiny, rectangular thing that looks like it came straight out of Star Trek. Lots of brushed metal and carbon give it that premium sports vibe you’d want from the segment. There’s also a G meter to show you just how hard you’re bending the laws of physics.

However, while you might expect very little practicality from a machine like this, the Roadster 2.0 actually has a lot to offer as a simple means of transport. The seating arrangement accommodates up to four passengers in a 2+2 layout, and while Musk admits that “you can’t put giant people in the rear seat,” the fact is has one at all is pretty impressive. Add to that a “capacious” storage space, undoubtedly mostly thanks to the extended frunk (Tesla’s term for the spot under the hood left empty by the all-electric powertrain), and this thing should be able to swallow enough luggage for at least a weekend getaway.

Finally, a removable targa top opens up the Roadster 2.0 to unlimited headroom. And that’s great, because after all, anyone driving a Tesla obviously cares about enjoying lots of fresh air, right?

Drivetrain

  • Potentially sets multiple world records
  • 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds
  • 0-to-100 mph in 4.2 seconds
  • Quarter mile in 8.9 seconds
  • 250+ mph top speed
  • 620 miles of range per charge
  • 7,376 pound-feet of torque
  • Three motors, 200-kWh battery

So it looks awesome and the cabin makes you feel like firing off some photon torpedoes. That’s all well and good, but by far the most impressive thing about the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is its powertrain technology. The specs getting tossed around are almost absurd, but if they turn out to be real, the Roadster 2.0 will break multiple world records.

Here’s the score – 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, which would make this Tesla the first production car to break the 2-second barrier in the 0-to-60 mph test. A run from 0-to-100 mph takes 4.2 seconds, another record for production cars. Finally, the quarter mile takes just 8.9 seconds, which would make the all-electric the first production car to break the 9-second barrier in the benchmark.

And take note – these are records for all production cars, not just EVs. Impressed yet?

We sincerely hope Tesla can actually follow-through here, and based on the automaker’s resume, it most likely will. After all, the Model S P100D can already hit 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds.

Incredibly, these numbers represent the base model Roadster 2.0, which means Tesla is cooking up even quicker iterations for the future, with a possible reveal hinted at next year.

Now it’s time to talk about the EV-specific records this thing could set. First up – top speed, which is stated to exceed 250 mph top speed. That would make it the fastest production electric car ever made by a huge margin, and place the Roadster 2.0 amongst the fastest of the fast from the world of internal combustion. Range per charge is rated at 620 miles, which is again, the most of any electric car ever made, and a total game-changer for EVs. It would make the Roadster 2.0 the first production all-electric passenger vehicle to do more than 1,000 km at freeway speeds in a single charge. Say goodbye, range anxiety.

Making it all work is a new 200-kWh battery pack, which sends its prodigious flow of electrons to three motors, one up front two in the rear, which means it’s also got AWD grip. Horsepower figures are still forthcoming, but apparently torque figures are rated 10,000 Nm, or 7,376 pound-feet, a figure that even Musk agrees is “stupid.”

Finally, torque vectoring helps it handle. We don’t know how much this thing weighs, but we’re guessing it’s probably pretty heavy for its size, so it’s likely not the liveliest thing ever in the corners. Still, 10,000 Nm of torque can fix a lot.

Prices

Although previously scheduled for a release in 2019, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 has been pushed back a year to 2020. Tesla is taking reservations now at $50,000 a piece. The final sticker is expected to be around $200,000.

What’s more, Tesla is offering the first 1,000 units as part of the special edition Founder series. Perks for the Founder series are currently unknown, but pricing sees a rise to $250,000, and interested buyers are required to front the full quarter million bucks up front to reserve theirs.

Competition

NextEV NIO EP9

Based out of China, NextEV is already on the EV supercar scene with its NIO EP9. Crafted from carbon fiber, the NIO EP9 does its performance dance thanks to four electric motors producing a combined 1,314 horsepower. Acceleration and top speed can’t touch the Roadster 2.0, with 2.7 seconds to 62 mph and a maximum of 195 mph. However, this thing’s handling might have the Tesla beat, with active suspension and aero helping it pull up to 3 G’s in the twisties.

Rimac Concept_One

Here’s another battery-driven slab of speed, this time coming from the Croatian-based manufacturer Rimac. Producing upwards of 1,072 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, the Concept_One can snap off a run to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds, while maxing out at 221 mph. AWD keeps it sticky.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

While it’s possible the Tesla Roadster 2.0 will look and go a bit differently when it finally hits the public streets in 2020, odds are this early preview is pretty close to the mark already. And that’s a truly incredible thing, if you think about it. Both competitors listed above are at least four times as expensive, and can’t come close in terms of sheer all-electric muscle. Throw in the fact the Tesla breaks 1,000 km per charge and even has space for luggage, and it quickly becomes obvious that the California automaker is launching a new epoch in the world of the automotive.

It looks like the future just got a whole lot brighter.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Still three years out
    • Likely to be delayed multiple times

References

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Model S

Rendering

Competing Vehicles