Tesla Roadster Range Doubled to 400 Miles With Battery Upgrade

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors gave its customers a belated Christmas gift on Friday, announcing a new upgrade package for their Roadster model. The Tesla Roadster was the electric car company’s first release and was produced from 2008-2012. Tesla boasts the Roadster upgrade package will provide dramatic improvements to the car’s mileage range on a single charge.

Also Read: Tesla Battery Swap Twice as Fast as the Gas Pump

Tesla Roadster Upgrade Package

tesla chargingMost notably, Tesla has utilized new technology to incorporate nearly 31% more energy into Roadster-compatible battery packs.

The original Roadster battery was the very first lithium ion battery put into production in any vehicle. It was state of the art in 2008, but cell technology has improved substantially since then. We have identified a new cell that has 31% more energy than the original Roadster cell. Using this new cell we have created a battery pack that delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery.

In addition to the battery upgrade, the Tesla Roadster will receive new tires designed to reduce the car’s rolling resistance by 20% and a retrofit aero kit that will reduce drag by 15%. In sum, the company predicts the upgrades will nearly double the Tesla Roadster’s range from 245 miles to more than 400 on a single charge.

Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0. There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles.

However, Tesla Roadster owners should expect to pay a premium to receive the upgrade package. Forbes estimates the nature of the upgrade indicates it could cost owners as much as $20,000. For those owners willing to fork over the extra cash, Tesla will begin scheduling appointments in the spring.

Tesla plans to demo the Roadster upgrade package in the early weeks of 2015 by driving non-stop from San Francisco to Los Angeles (381 miles between each location’s city hall).

Model S Owners Should Temper Expectations

Upon hearing news of the Roadster upgrade package, Model S owners will likely wonder if their car will receive a similar upgrade in the near future. Unfortunately, Tesla does not have one in the works.

The Roadster 3.0 package applies what we’ve learned in Model S to Roadster. No new Model S battery pack or major range upgrade is expected in the near term.

Nevertheless, Tesla Model S owners can keep their fingers crossed that the company’s battery-swap pilot program will expand nationwide.

Images from Shutterstock and Wikimedia.

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