UPDATE: Tesla Roadster Upgrade Announced


Elon Musk Issues Tesla Roadster Related Tweet

Elon Musk Issues Tesla Roadster Related Tweet

Later today, Tesla Motors will officially announce details for the Tesla Roadster upgrade. Prior to the official announcement, Elon Musk tweeted confirmation of almost 400-mile range for the Roadster.

Los Angeles to San Francisco is approximately 382 miles, which is darn close to the magical 400-mile range we’ve long been dreaming for in an electric car.

Will Model S owners get access to the same upgrade as the Roadster?  Yes, says Musk, but not anytime soon:

Model S Owners Will Get Similar Upgrade, But Not Anytime Soon

Model S Owners Will Get Similar Upgrade, But Not Anytime Soon

Look for us to present more details on the Tesla Roadster upgrade when the official announcement is made later today.

UPDATE:  Official Tesla Motors announcement posted below.  Improvements in 3 keys areas for Roadster upgrade, which is being called Roadster 3.0.  400-mile range achievable.

Roadster 3.0
By The Tesla Motors Team

Battery technology has continued a steady improvement in recent years, as has our experience in optimizing total vehicle efficiency. We have long been excited to apply our learning back to our first vehicle, and are thrilled to do just that with the prototype Roadster 3.0 package. It consists of three main improvement areas.

1. Batteries
The original Roadster battery was the very first lithium ion battery put into production in any vehicle. It was state of the art in 2008, but cell technology has improved substantially since then. We have identified a new cell that has 31% more energy than the original Roadster cell. Using this new cell we have created a battery pack that delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery.

2. Aerodynamics
The original Roadster had a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.36. Using modern computational methods we expect to make a 15% improvement, dropping the total Cd down to 0.31 with a retrofit aero kit.

3. Rolling Resistance
The original Roadster tires have a rolling resistance coefficient (Crr) of 11.0 kg/ton. New tires that we will use on the Roadster 3.0 have a Crr of roughly 8.9 kg/ton, about a 20% improvement. We are also making improvements in the wheel bearings and residual brake drag that further reduce overall rolling resistance of the car.

Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0. There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles. We will be demonstrating this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015.

We are confident that this will not be the last update the Roadster will receive in the many years to come.

Happy Holidays.

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23 Comments on "UPDATE: Tesla Roadster Upgrade Announced"

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What do you want to bet this whole roadster upgrade is just an opportunity for them to beta-test a new type of battery in the wild while having an excuse to keep the numbers down to avoid the risk of having to sell them widespread for the Model-S?

Is that a bad thing?

I’m happy as long as someone keeps pushing the envelope for battery and EV technology. Tesla clearly knows how to use early adopters to fund their new technology, unlike the rest of the automotive industry.

Doubt there will be much new about the battery. Simply use the 3.1Ah batteries Tesla currently uses rather than the 2.1Ah batteries it used in the Roadster in the same pack and range increases by almost 50%. That should get it “almost” 400 miles of range.

I think it’s more about “proving” that when you buy a Tesla, you won’t be left with an obsolete product in 5 years. Of course we don’t know how well that will hold in the future, but at least this will be evidence to sell that point.

But if you’re right, then Elon will probably say something about how superior it is.

Bingo! Musk is running a car company that’s still new to most people, that sells cars based on technology that’s also new to most people. As a result, many potential consumers are concerned about things like long-term support, product durability, etc. for such an expensive product. This announcement casts Tesla in a very different light than people (perhaps unfairly) otherwise see them.

As for the value of avoiding the image of “orphan cars”, just ask the people still driving an Oldsmobile, a Pontiac, a HUMMER, a Saturn, or a Mercury how they feel about it.

If I may… the correct phrase is “this whole roadster upgrade is ALSO an opportunity for them to beta-test a new type of battery”

There’s still plenty of support for those GM vehicles.

I missed the GM press release of factory/dealer improvements to the Saturn W300 convertible’s range, I guess. Was it fuel-efficiency, tires, tank-size, aero..

Moreover, I have missed the press releases that acknowledge that the Corporation ever made the brands listed above. I’ll offer that the Volt sales might have been ahem.. better if the Corporation had tried to avoid that impression.

Guessing, Not what you meant?

Or you could buy an ice which will soon become obsolete.

This is great news. I always respect the Roadster as a great car and the one that started the current wave of EV adoption.

Battery replacement is a proposition unique to EVs that allows the owner to make the car “better than new” after several years. A similar refresh on ICE vehicles would cost way too much.

This is exciting news for Roadster owners and can’t wait to hear the details.

What would be a “similar refresh” on ICE cars? Something like new engine and transmission right? How much would that cost? I expect this new battery would be more than $10,000 maybe even $20,000. Probably more expensive than a new engine/transmission installed. Or maybe even about the same price.

Not just a new engine (as it were)… a new, more fuel-efficient engine that gets 50% better mileage. That’s the rough equivalent of getting a new battery that goes 50% farther.

There’s also the potential that this announcement will add SuperCharging capabilities to the Roadster. They could unlock more power for the car given the higher capacity of the batteries. Now your ICE gets 50% better fuel economy, more power, and a whole new fuel system.

Exciting times!

Time to get real Jesse … What high end sports car can get a brand new upgraded drive train installed for $10k-$20k?

Guess that means that Tesla will need to put a price on a battery. That price had better be as closely to cost as possible or it will be used to scare people about high replacement cost of batteries.

For that reason it might have been wise to delay offering deals like this until lower cost Gigafactory cells are available. OTOH: Tesla could offer the batteries at gigafactory prices and accept a small loss. It won’t involve that much batteries and it is a smart move to show people that Tesla is supportive of older products. Alleviates obsolescence anxiety.

I do expect the same strategy as Nissan uses though; mandatory trade in of the old battery.

Additional details in Tesla blog.


The new battery (70kWh) is smaller than I expected (80-85kWh). The cells are probably rated down in energy capacity and up in power output.

The other enhancements were a surprise to me, fixing the drag and lowering rolling resistance.

I’d like to see some battery WEIGHT drop as well.

Ah well. I was hoping for any improvements in performance with simply a new motor. It would be nice to see the Roadster rival the P85D or even close to it.

Why are they calling it 3.0? What was 2.0?

There were a few updates along the way on the roadster. So there has been the 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 version too. So next logical step is the 3.0 version.
And you can ask google for the different specs of the different smaller upgrades. 🙂

Kind of a dissapointment for me, I was hoping for 85kwh so those 400 miles are actually achievable, supercharging and a more powerful motor 🙁

This car can make it from London to Manchester and back again to London on a single charge!