Tesla CEO: Roadster Update Details Coming Next Week; Is A 400 Mile EV Now A Reality?

DEC 20 2014 BY JAY COLE 62

Hey!  What About Me?

Hey! What About Me?

Lost amongst the recent excitement around the arrival of the high performance Model S P85D has been the original Tesla Roadster, and the upgrades promised to it from earlier this year.

Current Tesla Roadster Can Travel Up To 244 Miles (EPA)

Current Tesla Roadster Can Travel Up To 244 Miles (EPA)

Well, almost forgotten. 

Some 2,500 Roadster owners certainly remember Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s promise to “get something cool” done by the end of this year.

“Yeah, we’ll get it done this year, it’ll be a cool thing. We said we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it, we’re going to do something cool with the Roadster later this year.” – Musk at shareholder Q&A this past June

It turned out that part of the something cool was a “range package” that would take the travelling abilities of the Roadster up to 400 miles!

“The Roadster had an old generation battery.  We’ll upgrade it to a new generation battery pack and it should have a range of about 400 miles, which will allow you to drive from LA to San Francisco non-stop.” – Elon Musk to Auto Express in July

Sidenote: Having taken a 2 hour ride in Tesla Roadster not that long ago, we can think of few things we would like to do less than go on a 400 mile day trip; although we understand EV owners never ending thirst  for more range.

Pressed on Friday to address the lack of progress on these statements, the Tesla CEO responded that while “other” projects have taken up the company’s time (like perhaps having fully functional safety equipment in the new sport seat option for the P85D), Tesla still hasn’t forgotten about the Roadster, and will detail the upgrades next week.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says Roadster Upgrade Details Are Coming Soon

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says Roadster Upgrade Details Are Coming Soon

It appears that Roadster owners will get a special Christmas gift from Tesla to call their own after all.

Now, if you are the type of person who would rather wait for the next Roadster to debut over upgrading an existing car, Mr. Musk said over the summer that version 2.0 is at least 5 years away still.

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62 Comments on "Tesla CEO: Roadster Update Details Coming Next Week; Is A 400 Mile EV Now A Reality?"

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Hummmm I’ve posted before that if 53 kwh is 244 miles then 400 miles at the same weight would be 87 kwh. So then the Tesla Roadster would have the biggest battery..

I’m told the next Roadster INNOVATION will be changeout of the TSL-01 twist lock connector, with the Current MOdel S jack.

This will be done so that Tesla can totally discontinue the troublesome UMC (for $1500) which surprisingly they supposedly never made any money on cuz the things would constantly burn out).

This change is not SuperCharger related. Its merely to use current parts for Roadster Repairs in a reasonable attempt for Tesla to save money.

87 kWh is not enough for 400 mile Roadster. BUT, Tesla may have a surprise in sleeve that they are testing next gen higher energy density batteries with Roadster! If that is the case, then we can also expect rumored 100+ kWh Tesla Model S in 2015!

By what basis are you saying that? The battery weighs about as much as the Lotus can stand as it is, so it wouldn’t make sense to increase the weight of the battery pack.

Since the weight can’t be increased, what is going to make an 87 kwh power train less efficient than a 53 kwh power train?

If you have a detailed explanation I’m all ears.

Or is this just more unsubstantiated guesswork?

OK, who’s going to drive their upgraded roadster at 25mph for 600 miles to set the EV range record? Not it! 🙂

Haha! Someone needs to get Ari a roadster for a week.

I believe the current record is 808 miles in November… although not in a production vehicle.

Do you know who has the record?

Also, does anyone know if a Roadster has driven from coast to coast in the US?

That is 10 miles/kWh. I have on only achieved that once in my Volt on my 4 mile commute to work. I hit every stop light and there is a 120 foot elevation drop over the first 3 miles. It also takes me about 1kWh to get home, so I don’t think 808 miles is feasible with any of the available cars. It would probably take 150 kWh at a minimum.

Range is only important due to the limited availability and speed of EV recharging. If a full charge of 20 minutes existed at 100,000 locations nationwide, a 200-mile EV would be more than enough. To fix this now, Tesla makes an 85 kWh battery. What if they installed 4,000 more Supercharger sites in the USA? Would surely make an MS 60 far more useful. To make Model 3 work “for the masses”, the combination of far more superchargers needs to be done along with a price that the masses can afford. Otherwise, it is just a slightly broader brush doing the same thing that Model S has done so far. A landscape of $35K 200-mile BEVs with 30 minute 2/3 charge is what would pique many buyers’ interests.

What makes more sense – a 100-mile EREV for $35K or a 200-mile BEV for $35K. There are a whole lot of ways to look at this imbalance of “what will really make EVs take hold as a first-level choice of car buyers”.

Pretty sure Alcoa and Phinergy’s Aluminium battery holds this record. it can go 1000 miles non-stop. Search “Israel’s Phinergy Tests 1,100-Mile Range Electric Car”.

IIRC, it then takes a few days for them to rebuild the non-reusable aluminum portion of the system before driving again. And the cost was 100x per mile the cost of electricity.

I think the goal for the research was 10 years to commercial viability.

This sounds very cool that they are upgrading the battery on this car to get better range. This is the first time I have heard of swapping out batteries in a existing ev to get better range using the same car set up. I know I have heard stories of lead acid batteries being changed to lithium on conversion kits. But most owners only did that due to the lead acid batteries dying all the time.

I really wounder would Tesla ever invent a battery back I could swap out in a Nissan leaf or Mitsubishi i-miev.

Honda Civic Hybrid, you can now get a better after market battery and get better performance,economy and range.

Of course, it should have been Honda to offer this option.

People are missing the main point in all this: Tesla is supporting a legacy model with upgrades. What car company do you know really cares about the driver and/or the car once it’s off the lot, especially if its this old?

Wish I could afford a Tesla.

I would doubt it, but just perhaps Musk’s conscience is bothering him and he’s bothered that he hasn’t done much for those of us who paid an extra $20000 (Musk raised the price from $89 to $109 AFTER taking non-refundable deposits) for the car that made the rest of the company possible.

The more I read you, the more I think you really should start a pessimistic’s club…

Absolutely. Bill feels he bought a Tesla Roadster years ago, and that gives him the right to moan and groan and complain every chance he gets.

My mother used to say: “It takes all kinds…”

It’s kind of like Bill doesn’t really own a Roadster at all, and in his imagination, he would have bought one if he did have $90,000 or whatever figure he’s thrown out there this week.

I’ve reminded Bill that even Tesla’s certified used Roadster page only had one Roadster on it for months, and that his car could be the next Cobra 427 ( most sell in the neighborhood of $1 million. ).

This is a guy who, when visited by an angel and told that God has a plan for him, and that eternal joy and fulfillment are in that plan…Bill would start negotiating, because that just isn’t enough for him! 🙂

“It’s kind of like Bill doesn’t really own a Roadster at all”…exactly. Pretending to own the product is a great play to undermine it which is what “Bill” has been doing for years on this forum.

Typical cybershill MO BTW.

All, I have met Bill and he indeed does on a green Roadster. He was even kind enough to let some people drive it a couple yeas ago at a EV function in downtown Buffalo. SO lets put to rest that issue. He own a Roadster and a 2011 Chevy Volt and because Bill voices his concerns and issues on an EV forum which this is there really is no need to accuse one of lying.

Bill just seems like a guy who wants what he was promised to me, he feels put upon when the deal is changed in midstream.


As a Tesla owner and EV advocate, I appreciate Bill’s willingness to point out the flaws in the product, and the plan. Things don’t get better if you pretend that everything is perfect, when it aint.

Very happy with my Model S. But it’s not perfect. No car is. It’s a weird dynamic in EV forums that telling the truth is criticized.

Bill has posted a whole lot of useful information over the years, I’ve learned a lot from him.

He’s also posted videos that include clips of his green Roadster, and it’s been written about in legit newspapers:


Thanks everyone for the support. Most people here are very nice, but then there are those magpies who have to challenge every little detail I write so I have to prove everything.

I don’t always acknoledge it but I do appreciate you guys sticking up for me, even if I don’t explicitly say so. I’ve bought 2 ev’s but per them I’m not allowed to have an opinion. I take it rather, that since I have spent the money that gives me license to have an opinion.

Here’s a little proof that I do own ev’s.

WARNING: You won’t like the music. Google shuts down all copywrited material, and , I happen to like “Harlem Hocha”. Its something to listen to in the background in case someone doesn’t like listening to me drone on. It is not professional quality as it is the first time I’ve ever picked up a Video Camera.

I hereby declare LuStucco and James “Tesla trolls”.

Oops! Forgot to label Chris-O.

You are of course right. These guys piss and moan about other stuff on other articles and no one ever challenged them until now.

Of course, no one ever asks these clowns what kind of car they drive. It kind of goes with the territory, but one would hope the discussions could remain a bit more high-brow and leave off the mud slinging.

Since most people who throw Snow Balls can’t take them back, they’ll probably (thanks to you guys) stifle themselves for a bit.

If the Model 3 is made of corrosion proof materials like the Model S, I’ll make room in the budget for one. Until then, I’m also looking and drooling over each Tesla I see.

I havent seen rust on a car for 20 years. Although I live in So Cal

This was one thing that piqued my interest when the Volt gen 2 battery was announced. It was in the same exact size and shape of the gen 1 pack. So would or could it be retrofitted to a first generation Volt when those batteries are in need of replacement (2020s). The resale value would be pretty good if I could put a battery in it and get 45-50 miles of EV range, even without a 5th seat.

As the Volt market grows, there will be after-market options.

Since I also have a 2011 VOlt, I initially wondered how come I couldn’t get a “software upgrade” to open up more of the battery so I could get increased miles….

But then I found out GM contracts out much of the software, and it is not so simple to get the software changed on the existing car, since they haven’t tested for that and more than one company would need to be brought back to the table to implement this change.

I would guess this would be a similar problem retrofitting a 2016 battery into an old VOlt, especially if they’ve decided to change any of the old battery connections… Unless by dumb luck they’re the same, but then I don’t know how high a priority GM puts on standardization other than having one 3300 watt charger for the whole company.

Strategically this is a good move. In 2015 lots of medias will talk about the “superiority” of the fuel cell Mirai because it has more range and recharge faster.

But Tesla introduce 2 new products (battery swap and 400 miles roadster) to contradict this.
By accelerating fuel cells death, Tesla will accelerate the EV revolution.

I agree.

Although I struggle with people who say the Mirai has no range anxiety. It has the worst range anxiety possible. You can only drive within a small radius of the hydrogen station.

The only way it can leave LA is on a flatbed tow truck.

Plus it’s ugly, slow, and expensive.

I am so over Tesla’s 0-60 videos. But I would watch it against a Mirai just to lighten my day.

Tesla’s primary issue is Tesla. If they are to truly succeed they need to get the 3 out. And not 3 years late.

“I would watch it against a Mirai just to lighten my day.”
+1 Pick any Tesla.

Tesla has to get the Model 3 right. If they rush it and it is bad ( which I don’t think they will), they will be out of business. Anything less than 200k per year vehicles (worldwide) will be a failure.

They can survive a 1-2 year delay as long as S and X sales stay strong. Their stock price might plummet, but they would still be in business.

To say nothing about it being a Bomb on Wheels.

Hydrogen doesn’t explode. It just burns very quickly.

No worries. Tesla Model 3 will come right on time in late 2016. It does not make economic sense for Tesla to delay Model 3, because it would cost for Tesla several hundren million dollars for each month that Model 3 is delayed. And these revenue losses are lost forever.

Typically, when product X is delayed by company T, then it means that company T has calculated that they will gain in profitability if they choose to delay the product X.

It goes without saying that in the case of Tesla, potential losses due delay of Model 3 are so gigantic that it does not make to delay the product. But Tesla will push Model 3 on markets as soon as they have enough battery production capacity, i.e. Gigafactory is up and running. Panasonic has (planned) capacity only to supply batteries for Model S and X.

I can’t see it being available to buy before 2017. The Gigafactory will be producing its first cells by the end of 2016, and they will be going into the S and X first to improve margins.

And yes, they do have something to lose: Potential Model S buyers may decide to save a few bucks when the Model 3 comes out, and that results in less profit for Tesla. As an example, Apple’s tablet revenue has been decreasing after the release of the iPad Mini, and their tablet margin even more so.

You can only make up for that with volume, so Tesla needs to get everything as perfect as possible, both in the car and the production efficiency.

Bravo for 400 mile range.
It is an important milestone and an important battle to win. I personally think it’s unsafe to drive 400 miles in a row safely.
but this helps kill the range anxiety argument. Most ICE offerings have less than 400 mile range.

It also opens the market up to people without garages or private parking spaces.

Most important would be if this advance helps them build a cheaper battery.

Imagine if Nissan could use a Tesla battery and put it into a Versa making a 200 mile AER car for $17,000.

That is when ICE passenger vehicles become rare.

JRMW: “I personally think it’s unsafe to drive 400 miles in a row” – question – do you mean – 400 miles in one sitting? (as in without getting out for restrooms, leg stretches, etc?)

Because – I have driven from 3 hours outside LA North, to Longview, Washington, in one day from a 4 AM wake up (sleeping in the car at a truck stop), and start driving at ~ 5AM: Went until about 1 AM next Morning, passed Portland about Midnight! Sure I took Breaks, stops, etc., but it was long 1 day drive!

Yeah. I drove 33 hours once with no sleep. Now that was unsafe as I was hallucinating the last couple of hours. I think I stopped around 4 times for gas and food with breaks no longer than 30 minutes, so clearly there were some 500 or 600 mile stretches in there.
MN to NC.

I can’t wait for self driving cars…for everyone else.

From these comments, it might kill the airline industry.

No problem with the Citroen C1 Aluminium air battery. Go as many electric miles as you like.

Yeah. I meant one sitting.
I used to drive SF to MN straight with only one 1 hour rest stop half way. Definitely not safe.

400 miles is a good 6-7 hours of driving. It’s good to get out of the car for 30 minutes or so even if you have 2 drivers.

Yes, the potential for a pulmonary thrombosis certainly should give one pause. Today I would never drive those long distances, it’s, as you suggest, not safe for a number of reasons.

The 400 mile range Roadster (as an upgrade for the 225 miles (or is it 245 mile?) range current car, adds credibility in Tesla’s ability to deliver a 200 mile range Model 3, as well!

Lighter Weight, and improved Aerodynamics can all go to make the Model 3 cover the targeted 200 miles, without a massive battery improvement, as well!

It’s great to see Tesla support older products like that. Should help alleviate any “obsolescence anxiety” people might have when they are trying to decide whether to buy into a new and quickly evolving product like EVs.

Maybe the likes of Nissan should be clearer about offering retrofit opportunities when they start using better battery tech. As things stand I would advice people to lease rather than buy the current crop of 80 mile range EVs as they are likely to depreciate like last years laptop when the next generation of 150-200 mile EVs comes out in a few years.

Of course the sort range Tesla offers is unlikely to become obsolete anytime soon.

As far as driving 400 miles in a Roadster, I’d bet its easily done, and in a Roadster, in general, you like to drive ‘off the beaten path’, with the top down, because its rather like being in a go cart, and windey roads are just alot more fun in a Convertible.

So, one might take a 5 minute coffee break, and go back on the road, and around my parts there are few places to chargeup.

The Roadster is a very comfortable car once you are sitting in it anyways.

Some people just aren’t a fan of long drives in a roadster. I used to love taking trips in my old S2000. I did many 400+ mile trips in it. But it was my daily driver, so the stiffness and feeling the road were normal to me.

It would be super cool if Tesla tested with Roadster next gen battery cells with higher energy density than existing Model S cells.

Exactly…. I’d love a battery Pack that would allow me to go to Chicago, and turn right around and come back home as I’ve done several times in my Gasoline powered cars in the past.

I might have to wait a bit since this technology advance is for 400 mile range, not the 1300 that trip would require.

Am I the only one who get a feeling that a larger battery is coming next year for the Model S and the X aswell?

Nope. There should be iterative improvements available.

Since the Model X will be less aerodynamic, offering higher capacity batteries would help offset that. Pricing and availability would depend on the costs to Panasonic of modifying manufacturing lines.

It would also be a good response to other manufacturers’ announcements of intention to make long-range BEVs, as well as the coming compliance HFCVs. If they could offer EPA 300 miles at a reasonable increment in price, with incremental improvement in charging mph it would be good for their competitive position (and margins).

Note that I meant 300 miles on the S. Unrealistic for the X.

It’s the other way aroud. Manufacturers are announcing annoncements in response to Tesla. Will we see the color of real mass produced 300 BEVs from Nissan , GM and others?… They all hope that Tesla will fail to protect their ICE market… and they will do everything NOT to introduce such ICE killers.

Please remember Elon’s Law:
– Believe the intention
– Do not believe timeline
– Do not believe cost
– Read only the literal meaning of statements.

This is just announcing an announcement. The announcement will be in 2014, but there’s no delivered product.

This is not doing something out of the goodness of his heart. Tesla has battery warranty obligations to Roadster owners, a contract with Panasonic, and will benefit from used cars holding value. Ditching legacy tech is a good thing all round for them. If they could also ditch the old EVSEs and allow Roadsters to use HPWCs it would be a big deal as well, since the number of sites with HPWCs is growing at a good clip.

“…Tesla has battery warranty obligations to Roadster owners, …”

Not really. They have sold very few Roadster Battery Warranties.

At the time of my Roadster Purchase, I read all the Fine Print. I told Tesla’s sales people that I could not agree to their terms of the extended warranty. They CHANGED the agreement and sent it back to me, but it still wasn’t good enough for me to sign.

The problem was, basically with BOTH agreements, was that if Tesla couldn’t make a battery work, or plain just WOULDN’T do it, they’d give you your $12,000 back, interest free. That was a lousy deal, so I said no.

Apparently other Roadster owners felt the same since they had sold very few at the time of my purchase, and at #1333 I’m one of the later owners in the states.

The tweet seems to have disappeared. I’m thinking because the word “crisis” spooks investors.