We told you earlier this morning that Tesla Motors was on the verge of making an announcement on a battery upgrade for its first electric vehicle: the Roadster. The time has come for the official announcement, and Tesla Motors has unveiled what it calls the Roadster 3.0 Package.
The Roadster 3.0 Package centers around three major upgrades to the vehicle. The first is of course a vastly improved battery pack. The original Roadster came to market with a 53 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, but advances in cell technology has allowed Tesla to produce a new cell with 31 percent greater capacity.
As a result, the new battery pack gives the Roadster 70 kWh in the exact same package size as the original. However, more potent lithium-ion cells are only part of the reason why Tesla can offer increased range with its Roadster 3.0 initiative.
The second ingredient to the recipe is improved aerodynamics courtesy of a new aero kit that can be retrofitted to existing vehicles. Tesla claims that the aero kit reduces the drag coefficient from 0.36 to a more respectable 0.31, making for a 15 percent improvement.
The third and final addition involves new tires that help to reduce rolling resistance by roughly 20 percent, and in turn improve overall vehicle efficiency.
When all of these improvements are applied to the Roadster, Tesla says that the Roadster will witness a 40 to 50 percent increase in driving range. Elon Musk and his crew are confident that the upgrades will allow the Roadster 3.0 to travel over 400 miles on a charge, and will demonstrate this capability in a non-stop trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles next month.
The Tesla Roadster's lithium-ion battery pack is represented in purple
It’s refreshing to see that Tesla is still willing to engineer advancements for a vehicle that was first introduced over six years ago and went out of production over two years ago. And according to the company, the Roadster 3.0 package won’t be the end of the line for the aging chassis.
“We are confident that this will not be the last update the Roadster will receive in the many years to come,” the Tesla Motors team added.
Unfortunately, we still don’t have any word on pricing or when the package will be offered to Roadster customers. And there was also no mention of whether Tesla would upgrade the Roadsters to support the nationwide Supercharger network. This seems like such an obvious upgrade for the Roadster, but the internal changes that would be necessary to make it compatible might not be possible without significant engineering and financial costs.