Tesla to upgrade the Roadster

California Dreaming?

It has been a long time since the Tesla Roadster made news but that is exactly what happened when Tesla Motors announced an upgrade package for the all-electric Roadster, promising some very impressive performance gains. The Californian company say that thanks to advances in battery technology since the car was first launched in 2008 and also due to some lessons learnt whilst developing the Tesla S, the new Roadster 3.0 upgrade will deliver a range of almost 650 kilometres. This represents an almost 50% range increase; pretty impressive if you actually want to go somewhere in the vehicle.

The Tesla Roadster, which is basically a Lotus, was the first production car to be fitted with li-ion batteries back in 2008. Since then, battery cell technology has improved significantly and it is here where the main improvements to the car’s performance will be made. Originally the battery pack could squeeze out 53kWh but the improvements mean that the new pack can produce 70kWh from the same size package; this is a 31% improvement over the standard factory-fitted version.

Tesla is not stopping at the battery pack. The upgrade will also include an aerodynamics package retrofit that will bring the Roadster’s drag coefficient down from 0.36 Cd to 0.31 Cd, a very respectable 15% improvement. But wait, there is more! There will also be a new tyre design and improved bearings to help reduce rolling resistance by as much as 20%.

The company is planning to demo the reworked Roadster in a road test from San Francisco to Los Angeles sometime soon, but owners keen to get their hands on the upgrade kit will have to wait until the new battery technology has passed safety certification tests, which will probably take the first half of the year.

The announcement, made over the Christmas period, completes an eventful year for Tesla, which delivered Model S to left-hand drive markets, including the UK, for the first time, started work on a ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada to build low cost li-ion batteries, and has to date installed 335 supercharger stations across the US, Europe and Asia.

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