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Tesla Roadster claimed sub-1sec 0-60mph time – Mate Rimac weighs in

Elon Musk has announced new details for the long-awaited Tesla Roadster, but Bugatti-Rimac CEO Mate Rimac has his reservations

The second-generation Tesla Roadster has seen the most tumultuous launch of any car in modern history, but if recent updates are to be believed, it might finally be close to fruition. Over four years since it was initially set to enter production and seven since its reveal, Elon Musk has announced that the Tesla Roadster will be unveiled in its final form towards the end of 2024, before first deliveries commence in 2025.

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Along with details of this new timeline, Elon Musk revealed that the company had ‘radically increased the design goals,’ adding that ‘...there will never be another car like this, if you could even call it a car’. Continuing an X thread from 2018 in which he spoke about the use of gas thrusters, Musk said that the model would be a collaboration between Tesla and the spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX, revealing that it would achieve a record-breaking sub-1sec 0-60mph time.

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In a social media response to this bold claim, Bugatti-Rimac CEO Mate Rimac said: ‘...it is possible with thrusters. We did the simulation. Problem is, you release the air in 2-3 seconds and then you have a lot of dead weight that you are carrying around (tanks, compressor, valves, nozzles etc.).’ He went on to say that such an acceleration figure could also be achieved through the use of fans as we’ve seen in the McMurtry Spéirling, but added that ‘the tires would be overloaded very fast with any kind of car with “normal supercar” weight’. Rimac concluded that ‘thrusters are really the only way to go. But bring a lot of downsides as well’.

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As is common with all Tesla product launches, the ambitious new Roadster has seen a number of setbacks since its 2017 reveal, with Musk blaming both the pandemic and parts supply issues for the over four-year delay to its initially proposed launch. In 2019, Tesla confirmed that we’d only see the all-electric supercar hit the road once the firm had achieved a number of milestones, most notably the construction of its Berlin ‘Gigafactory’, establishing Model Y production and launching the Cybertruck, all of which have now been achieved. 

The original Roadster was Tesla’s first production model, based on a heavily modified Lotus Elise platform. This new model looks rather more ambitious – as we've come to expect from Tesla – and is promising some pretty ambitious on-paper performance figures. No power figure is yet quoted, and you can ignore Tesla's torque figure of over 7300lb ft, as it's a ‘wheel torque’, multiplied by gearing and therefore not directly comparable to the crank torque (or motor torque) quoted by other manufacturers.

This time around, the Roadster delivers its power and torque figures through all four wheels, and will do so effectively from rest. Tesla hasn't specified a weight figure, but it's safe to assume the Roadster will be lighter than models S, X and 3, given its claimed sub-1sec 0-60mph time. The quarter-mile time previously quoted was just 8.8sec thanks to its ‘Plaid’ powertrain, consisting of three motors as opposed to the usual two, and a new uprated battery pack.

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Unlike many electric cars, acceleration doesn't come at the expense of a range-limiting top speed either, with Tesla suggesting 'over 250mph' at the top end. It's fair to assume that top speed would somewhat limit range, though driven at a more sedate pace, Tesla also claims a 620-mile range from its 200kWh battery pack.

Its styling is still a representation of what the new Roadster could look like, rather than a direct correlation to what will be available to buyers when (if) it does eventually arrive. If the coupe styling is confusing given Tesla's choice of the Roadster moniker, things become a little clearer when the central targa-style panel is removed.

The interior is said to seat four, and is typically Tesla-minimalist. Though the dashboard layout is more conventional than that of other Teslas, it does feature an aircraft-style yoke steering wheel that’s already caused so much controversy in the latest Model S Plaid

Tesla began taking deposits of $50,000 on the $200,000 Roadster from the moment it was unveiled – or full-price deposits of $250,000 on what it's calling a Founder Series model. First customer cars are now set to hit the road in 2025, not far from a decade after its initial unveiling.

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