Tesla Motors Will Launch All-New 'Maximum Plaid' Roadster Within Four Years

When Tesla Motors made a wave of announcements yesterday relating to its hot-selling Model S — including a new single-engine 70 kWh variant, an optional 90 kWh battery, and “Ludicrous Mode” — we overlooked an extremely tantalizing bit of information that CEO Elon Musk dropped at the very end of his blog.

“There is of course only one thing beyond ludicrous, but that speed is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years,” said Musk. Yes, you heard that right. Tesla is making a second generation Roadster and it will be here before the end of the decade.

The first generation Roadster went out of production in 2012 after a four-year run, and was very loosely based on the Lotus Elise. The Roadster, of course, was Tesla’s first electric vehicle made available to the public and in its most potent form packed in a 288hp electric motor which could hurtle the 2,700-lb vehicle to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Those performance figures seemed quite impressive when the Roadster first launched in the 2008, but the Model S P85D can now hit that mark in just 2.8 seconds with Ludicrous Mode.

Tesla Roadster Sport
Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport

However, if you thought that Ludicrous Mode was impressive, the new Roadster will go “Maximum Plaid,” which is a nod to the hilarious 1987 film Space Balls. Could Maximum Plaid allow the much lighter Roadster hit the 60 mph in closer to 2 seconds? It seems doubtful without some seriously sticky rubber and AWD, but I’ve learned to never doubt Mr. Musk.

Before this news of a second generation Roadster came to light, Musk and his EV crew were touting the Roadster 3.0 Package, which boosts the original 53 kWh lithium-ion battery pack to a 70 kWh unit with the improved battery chemistry found in the Model S. The new battery pack fits within the same footprint as the old unit and boosts total driving range to over 400 miles.

Who know that Tesla could possibly have in store for the next Roadster? When Tesla was first getting its feet wet in the automotive space, it made sense to reach out to a company like Lotus for help. But now that Tesla has found success with its own ground-up designs — Model S, Model X, and the upcoming Model III — we have a strong suspicion that Tesla will be going it alone with its next sports car. And with a purpose-built platform (instead of a converted gasoline-engine platform with the original Roadster), Tesla will likely be able to produce a vehicle that is lighter than the first generation Roadster while providing an even longer driving range than the Roadster 3.0 Package.

Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Tesla.


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