Tesla Roadster to be unveiled this year with sub-one-second 0-97km/h, claims Musk


Tesla has not forgotten about the new Roadster supercar – and it is edging closer to production next year with SpaceX rocket influences and 0-100km/h in less than one second, Elon Musk claims.

The Tesla Roadster electric supercar is promised to finally see the light of day later this year – for production next year – with acceleration twice as quick as any other road-legal car ever made.

The Roadster was unveiled as a concept in 2017 – with orders opened for promised deliveries in 2020 – but the trail of information went cold as Tesla focused on other projects, including the Cybertruck pick-up.

After months of silence, Elon Musk has claimed the Roadster’s design is “complete” and due to be unveiled later this year, for first deliveries “aiming … [for] next yea[r]”.

The executive has boldly declared a 0-60mph (97km/h) acceleration time of less than one second.

The quickest-accelerating production cars – on regular road tyres, not drag-racing slicks – are ‘only’ capable of completing the feat in about 1.8 seconds.

“Tonight, we radically increased the design goals for the new Tesla Roadster. There will never be another car like this, if you could even call it a car,” Musk said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“Tesla/SpaceX collab[oration]. Production design complete and unveil end of year, aiming to ship next yea[r]. I think it has a shot at being the most mind-blowing product demo of all time.”

In a later post, he claimed the sub-one-second 0-60mph time “is the least interesting part” of the car.

Musk’s language suggests the Roadster has undergone a dramatic redesign from the vehicle unveiled in 2017, promised at the time to cost $US200,000 ($AU305,000 today) with four seats, three electric motors and all-wheel drive.

Since 2017 customers have able to place a deposit on a Roadster – which in Australia comprised an initial $7000 refundable pre-order followed by a $59,000, non-refundable bank transfer within 10 days – with no firm delivery date.

A Founders’ Series version was also made available to order, which increased the cost of the second stage of payment from $59,900 to $319,000.

In 2017 it was claimed the ‘base model’ would be capable of 0-60mph (97km/h) in 1.9 seconds – or 0-100km/h in 2.1 seconds – plus 0-100mph (160km/h) in 4.2 seconds, and a quarter-mile (402m) drag-strip run in 8.8 seconds.

Other figures claimed included a top speed of “over 400km/h”, a driving range of 1000km, and “wheel torque” of 10,000Nm.

Musk later claimed there would be a “SpaceX rocket thruster option package” capable of 0-60mph (97km/h) in 1.1 seconds, which he said would be “safe, but very intense.”

The Tesla CEO said it would use “10 small rocket thrusters arranged seamlessly around [the] car. These rocket engines dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering. Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly.”

After missing the planned 2020 launch date, Musk said Roadster development had been placed on hold to focus on the Cybertruck – which would go on to be two years late for its own initial late-2021 launch date.

“Roadster is kind of like dessert. We gotta get the meat and potatoes and greens and stuff,” Musk said in 2020.

In May 2023 he told investors and media “we expect to complete the engineering and design of the next-gen Tesla Roadster this year and hopefully – this is not a commitment – start production next year,” as quoted by InsideEVs.

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Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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