Elon Musk has a talent for unleashing bombshell surprises, and he definitely topped himself with the unexpected reveal of the second-generation Tesla Roadster during the unveiling of the Tesla Semi truck. Musk promised not only the revival of Tesla’s first production model, but threw out some performance figures that got everyone talking.
The original Tesla Roadster, which went out of production in 2012, was a sports car based on the Lotus Elise. But the acceleration figures announced by Musk bring the new Roadster well into supercar territory, and a massive battery pack could push the boundaries of electric-car range as well. How insane is the new Tesla Roadster? We’ll break it down for you.
Musk said the new Tesla Roadster will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and run the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds. He also hinted at a top speed of around 250 mph. If Tesla can achieve that performance with a production model, the Roadster will be one the quickest road-legal cars around — electric or otherwise.
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was built purely to generate mind-boggling acceleration figures. It’s powered by an 840-horsepower Hemi V8, rides on drag radials, and comes standard with only one seat. Dodge says it will do 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and run the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds, meaning the Roadster should beat it on both counts. Keep in mind that, as Dodge loves to remind everyone, any car running the quarter mile in under 10 seconds requires special safety equipment to race at National Hot Rod Association-sanctioned tracks.
The Roadster also looks set to wallop a host of pedigreed supercars. According to each manufacturer’s own estimates, a Ferrari 812 Superfast, McLaren 720S, and Lamborghini Aventador S all take about a second longer than the Tesla to reach 60 mph from a standstill. All three fall short of a 250 mph top speed, too.
That doesn’t mean the Roadster will be the quickest car of all, though. Bugatti hasn’t published a 0-to-60 mph time for the Chiron, but it has to beat the 2.5-second time of the old Veyron Super Sport. Koenigsegg doesn’t publish 0-to-60 mph times for its cars, but given that an Agera RS just achieved a verified 277 mph on a Nevada highway, it’s safe to say the Swedish supercar is pretty darn quick. The 1,600-horsepower Hennessey Venom F5 could be a contender, too. Hennessey claims it will do 0 to 186 mph in less than 10 seconds and top out at 301 mph, but those figures remain unofficial.
If the acceleration figures put the Tesla Roadster in the company of supercars, the claimed range figure leaves the Tesla peerless. Musk said the Roadster will have a 620-mile range, thanks to a huge 200-kilowatt-hour battery pack. To put that in perspective, the longest-range electric car currently on sale is the Tesla Model S 100D, which has a 100-kWh battery pack and 335 miles of range.
With over 600 miles of range, the Roadster would surpass many gasoline cars in range and challenge more frugal diesels. That could turn the issue of range anxiety on its head. It’s just too bad that, at least initially, the car achieving that epic range will be a two-door performance model. That’s not exactly the kind of car most people take on long roads trips.
The most impressive figure might be the price. Yes, the Roadster costs $200,000, and the first 1,000 will be Founder’s Series special editions costing $250,000. But keep in mind that even the $1.5 million (and sold out) McLaren P1 can’t do 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds. If it lives up to hype, the Roadster will offer the performance of much more expensive supercars and range no other electric car could offer. That could make it a pretty good deal.