Musk: Tesla Roadster 340+ Mile Battery Upgrade Should Be Available in August This Year

With only 2,600 examples made, the Tesla Roadster two-seat electric sportscar ended production more than three years ago. And while the majority of car fans now turn their attention to its successor — the super-fast dual-motor Tesla Model S P85D — Tesla hasn’t forgotten the tiny two-seat car that made it famous.

The Roadster 3.0 upgrade could be ready for customers as early as August, Elon Musk said.

The Roadster 3.0 upgrade could be ready for customers as early as August, Elon Musk said.

So much so that for the past nine months or so, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] has been developing a brand-new, next-generation battery upgrade for its iconic two-seat sports car. When most automakers would view a car three-years out of production as little more than a discontinued model destined for ever-diminishing support and parts at dealerships, Tesla’s 3.0 upgrade package will not only breathe life into ageing Roadsters, but catapult them back into the limelight as the longest-range production car you can buy today.

So far, Tesla hasn’t committed to a launch date for the Roadster 3.0 upgrade, but over Twitter last week Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised Tesla fans they wouldn’t have long to wait.

With any luck, he promised, Roadster owners who want the upgrade will be able to buy one from August.

Like previous upgrades, those willing to pay will have access to it.

Like previous upgrades, those willing to pay will have access to it.

The conversation started when Bonnie Norman — an active member of the TeslaMotorsClub, owner of a Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 and Model X Signature Series reservation holder — reached out to Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter to ask about the status on the long-promised upgrade.

She, like many other owners at the TeslaMotorsClub were keen to hear any updates on the Roadster 3.0 upgrade package, and decided to ask Musk directly.

Musk’s reply was direct and to the point.

While Tesla Motors has received most attention over the claimed 340-360 real-world range of the new Roadster battery pack, it’s worth noting that the all-new, more energy-dense next-generation replacement for the original Tesla Roadster battery pack isn’t the only thing Tesla will be upgrading on customers’ cars.

The Tesla Roadster 3.0 upgrade pack — the first time we can think of an automaker offering a post-production upgrade for a car they no-longer produce, consists of three main things designed to improve the efficiency and range of the original Roadster.

The upgrade would make the Tesla Roadster the longest-range production electric car in the world.

The upgrade would make the Tesla Roadster the longest-range production electric car in the world.

Firstly, there’s the battery pack itself, which Tesla says has been given a dramatic increase in capacity from the original 53 kilowatt-hours included in the original Roadster to 70 kilowatt-hours. Physically the same size as the first generation pack, the new pack is lighter than its predecessor, yet can fit in the same space in the Roadster.

Second comes a new aerodynamics kit which Tesla says will reduce the coefficient of drag to 0.31, some 15 percent better than the Roadster 2.0 design.

Of course, not everyone who owns a Tesla Roadster will want the upgrade.

Of course, not everyone who owns a Tesla Roadster will want the upgrade.

Finally, Tesla’s Roadster 3.0 upgrade kit includes all-new tires, brakes and wheel bearings which reduce the rolling resistance of the Roadster from 11.0 kilograms per ton to 8.9 kilograms per ton as well as eliminate residual brake drag.

Back in February, Tesla tested the real-world range of the Roadster upgrade pack by driving it non-stop between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Now, it appears Tesla is readying the finishing touches ahead of offering it to customers as early as this August — meaning there will still be plenty of top-down summertime left for those willing to pony up the (as yet unspecified) amount for the upgrade before the cold of fall and winter set in.

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  • Dennis Pascual

    Great to have the option to upgrade a car that is at least three years old, if not older. Early communique imply that any Roadster whether 1.5, 2.0, or 2.5 version can be upgraded with whatever this 3.0 upgrade is.nnnThe important information that is missing is the price of the upgrade.

  • Garn

    I think the important part that everyone seems to be missing is that Elon has not forgotten all of the people that supported him during maybe the most difficult times of Tesla. If you watch the Revenge of the Electric Car itu2019s clear that the early believers keep being told the price and time for the car was growing and getting longeru2026 So instead of just saying F them, we made our money, letu2019s move on, he is trying to do right by them. Now I get it, he is charging them for the upgradeu2026 Canu2019t help but to think he should give those people the upgrade for free. But Tesla is an openly traded company these days so he canu2019t.nnAs mentioned, there are not that many manufactures that care about their cars/models after just 5 years. So if you think about it, for them to spend the time and resources they did to make this upgrade available, during a time they are still trying to prove themselves, itu2019s pretty incredible for a company to do that for the ones that supported them from the beginning.nnI get it, it also helps their PRu2026 But come on now, as said, most companies would not go back in time and do things like this for their original loyal supporters. That in its self should say something about the manu2019s (Elon) integrity.

  • D. Harrower

    For a car of this class, I still think the more logical route would have been to use the advances in battery technology to cut weight while keeping the old range.nnA two-seat sports car with minimal storage isn’t a very good candidate for road-tripping, especially without Supercharger compatibility, so why increase the range? As a PR stunt to show support for the Roadster owners who made their company possible?

  • evjuice

    I agree a light battery with the same range would be ideal. I’d rather have better handling daily than long distance capability for the very occasional long trip. nnnThere are Roadster owners who bought a battery upgrade when the purchased the sports car but those old batteries are not being made any more. So selling the new package upgrade to all Roadster owners is smart business on Teslas part to pay for whatever R&D that goes into the new pack. Big question is the PEM (Power electronics and module) and how much it needs to be upgraded. Is a new Model S plug and Supercharging one of the possibilities?nnnOffering the upgrade to owners who had deposits on the Roadster and watched the price go up after the fact would be a terrific gesture.

  • moxie2020

    Would be extremely nice if Tesla had an OS Nav system upgrade too…