Tesla is planning to finish the design and engineering of the next-generation Tesla Roadster by the end of this year and “hopefully” put the vehicle into production next year, according to CEO Elon Musk at Tesla’s shareholder meeting today.
The next-generation Roadster was originally announced by surprise in 2017 at the Tesla Semi Unveiling event. At the time, Tesla said that the car would “smack down” all gasoline-powered cars with its superior performance.
It’s promised to do 0-60 in 1.9 seconds, a quarter mile in 8.8 seconds, and have a top speed of 250+ miles per hour and a 200-kWh battery. At the time, we broke down whether these numbers were possible in a speculative technical analysis.
Since then, Tesla has released the Model S Plaid, which has some similar performance numbers for its 0-60 and quarter-mile time. But it likely would not be as good at track performance because the Roadster will (presumably) be a slimmed-down version of the sedan.
The Roadster was originally slated to hit the market in 2020 and has been continually pushed back. (The Semi, unveiled at the same event, was supposed to hit the market in 2019 and finally came out late last year.) In 2020, the Roadster was pushed back to 2021. In 2021, it was delayed until 2022 and then later delayed until 2023, which was confirmed again last year.
But otherwise, we’ve heard very little about the Roadster, and it hasn’t shown up on any of Tesla’s product roadmaps. Other than that one public statement last year, it didn’t look like the car would hit the road this year, as we haven’t seen much progress.
Fast forward to today, when an investor asked Musk when we might see the car. Musk’s answer was to push back the car another year, to 2024… “hopefully.”
This mention was a little more detailed than others, so it might actually reflect that this timeline is more concrete than previous timelines. Musk seemed reasonably confident that engineering and design would be completed this year but was less confident of the timeline to start production next year.
Musk emphasized multiple times that this was a “hopeful” timeline and said that “this is not a commitment” that the car would go into production next year. So stay tuned for more news on whether Tesla will follow through or whether this will be another instance of “Elon time.”
Musk also made mention of the SpaceX option package, which he has previously stated would allow the car to “hover” and which Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen has said would make the car an “exciting flying machine.”
Since this is a shareholder meeting, Musk mentioned that the car would likely not contribute much to overall company revenue but would perhaps be a “modest” contributor to profitability. Small production halo cars like this Roadster tend to have higher unit margins, but there are only so many buyers willing to spend $200,000+ on a vehicle.
But despite this likely lack of profitability, Musk did reiterate today that the car would be “sick.”
Here’s the full exchange, which starts at 1:25:50 in the video:
As an owner of the original Tesla Roadster, I am obviously excited about the next-gen one. Ever since it was first announced, I’ve wanted to see and drive this thing. That is, at least, until I launched a Plaid, and my stomach /inner ear decided that maybe two seconds is faster than anyone needs to get to 60 miles per hour…
But that said, I have to say that it’s hard to imagine the car actually coming out in 2024. It’s been pushed back so many times already, and we’ve heard so little about it that this would be a pretty quick turnaround at this point.
If this car is going to come out next year, we would expect to see more about it before it hits the road: sightings of its testing, new tooling at Tesla’s factories, job postings, and all the sorts of normal indicators that we see in the months ahead of production for any car.
We’ve been seeing these for Cybertruck for years now. That model has been delayed a few times but is finally coming to market next quarter, supposedly. And the pace of sightings suggests that it is indeed close to production at this point, so it does feel likely that it will actually hit the road this time around.
So I’d expect to start seeing more about the Roadster at least around the end of this year or perhaps the beginning of next year, if it truly is going into production next year. But I wouldn’t make any bets on it, though it is nice to hear the car at least get mentioned again after a lack of news for quite some time now.
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