Tesla Roadster delayed, again – ‘250mph’ supercar now set for 2022

Elon Musk has revealed that production for Tesla’s second-generation Roadster has been pushed back once again

As is the way with Tesla products, the all-new Roadster has seen a number of setbacks since its 2017 reveal. The car was scheduled to hit the road in 2020 but the firm cited Covid-19 as the reason for development delays early last year, with CEO Elon Musk recently taking to Twitter to announce a revised production start date.

Musk said that the brand is now set to finish engineering work later this year with production of the Roadster beginning in 2022, after it has produced a driveable ‘release candidate design’ late this summer. He commented that ‘Tri-motor drive system & advanced battery work were important precursors,’ technology that we’re set to see in the recently announced Model S and X Plaid.

> Tesla Model S Plaid priced from £110,980 – 1006bhp saloon takes on Porsche Taycan Turbo

Last year the CEO confirmed that we’d only see the all-electric supercar hit the road once Tesla had achieved a number of milestones, most notably the construction of its Berlin ‘Gigafactory’, establishing production of the Model Y and launching the ambitious Cybertruck. The production date for the latter currently sits at late 2021.

While the original Roadster was heavily based on the Lotus Elise platform, the new model looks rather more ambitious – and as we've come to expect from Tesla, boasts some spectacular on-paper performance figures. This said, no power figure is 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.

More significant is that the Tesla delivers its power and torque figures through all four wheels, and will do so effectively from rest. Tesla hasn't mentioned a weight figure either, but it's safe to assume the Roadster is lighter than models S, X and 3, given a claimed 0-60mph figure of 1.9sec, and 0-100mph in 4.2sec. The quarter-mile would be shrugged off in 8.8sec. This performance comes thanks to a new ‘Plaid’ powertrain, consisting of three motors as opposed to the usual two, and a new uprated battery pack.

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.

Styling is more distinctive than the firm's other models, though still slightly generic, in the manner of a car designed for an insurance advert or a video game with no official manufacturer licences. If the coupe styling is confusing you given Tesla's choice of the Roadster moniker, then 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, an aircraft yoke-like wheel reintroduces an element of sci-fi. In 2018, Musk revealed more information on the model, claiming that the car revealed in 2017 was entry-level, and that more capable variants would be launched in due course. Musk, also CEO of aerospace company SpaceX, even claimed a ‘SpaceX option package’ would be on offer, adding 10 cold gas thrusters similar to those found on his rockets, for added performance...

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 currently set to hit the road in 2022. 

> Tesla Model X Plaid revealed – 1006bhp SUV hits 60mph in 2.5sec

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