Did you know the first Tesla turned 15?

The original Roadster launched Tesla’s image, returning to this iconic model.

Tesla Roadster // Source: Pete Gruber

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Yesterday Tesla celebrated Tesla’s first delivery, 15 years ago. What seems like an eternity on the web is, in fact, a very small time in automotive history.

15 years ago today, we delivered the first Tesla Roadster → https://t.co/O8FipJIjAc pic.twitter.com/A0EfkufDbS

—Tesla (@Tesla) February 1, 2023

It was February 1, 2008, today’s event belongs to the history of Tesla and the electric car. You can still read Tesla’s official blog post from back then, with Elon Musk in the first Roadster livery, named P1. The account shows that this first transmission was complicated in several respects. The P1 is stuck at customs in Los Angeles and there’s no guarantee Tesla will get it in time. Eventually the car arrived, Tesla installed the Energy Storage System (ESS) before Elon Musk hit the road with it on the streets of Palo Alto, accompanied by four Tesla Roadster prototypes.

The first generation Roadster

Tesla’s first car, then, was the Tesla Roadster, produced in 2008-2012, initially priced from $98,950 (Tesla Roadster 1.5 Standard) to $128,500 (Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport). This electric vehicle was produced in only 2,450 copies, it has clearly become a collector’s item. Its price has increased in recent months.

Tesla Roadster // Source: Zain Syed

The initial model offers a range of 392 kilometers with a 248 hp electric motor. The chassis and the body are based on the Lotus Elise S2 architecture, without the heat engine of course. Therefore, this first model is a sports car, whose performance from 0 to 100 km/h is announced in 4.6 seconds. Then there is the Roadster 2.0, the second version of the model, with a 292 hp engine (3.7 seconds for 0-100 km/h) as well as a range of 540 kilometers. In total, there are four versions of this Roadster.

Tesla Roadster // Source: Jordan Harper

The first Roadsters had their bodywork (made in Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes in France by Sotira 35), along with the bumpers, built in carbon fiber. This ultralight and expensive material is necessary to maximize the range and optimize the weight of the vehicle. Over time, Tesla has improved battery technology and used less carbon fiber, increasing range while reducing costs.

The interior of the Tesla Roadster // Source: Alamy

These Roadsters are equipped with a soft top that can be rolled up and placed in a trunk. If you’re wondering where the car’s electrical architecture (designed by AC drive), it is under the back cover. Therefore, the Roadster’s battery does not remain under the floor of the car like most current electric cars.

Source: Current Automotive

The Roadster’s infotainment looks more like an iPod than an iPad, which stands out compared to current Teslas, but it’s still the central place to control essential EV functions. However, there are many features built into this small screen. Tesla probably wanted to make it bigger, but the American automaker was constrained by the architecture of the Lotus Elise, so there wasn’t much room inside the cockpit.

Source: Current Automotive

The story of the Tesla Roadster is considered a turning point for the automotive industry, showing consumers that electric cars can be attractive and capable. He also helped establish Tesla Motors as a world leader in the development of high-performance electric vehicles.

Source: Tesla

For the record, Elon Musk sent a Roadster into space, to Mars, on the first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in 2018. This made it the first car in orbit around the Sun, between Earth and Mars.

The second generation Roadster

Today, it is not possible to buy a new Roadster from Tesla, however one can be ordered. The second generation Roadster, promised for 2020, will share nothing with the first model: 0 to 100 km/h should be shot in 1.9 seconds, with a top speed of 400 km/h, a wheel torque of 10,000 Nm and a range of over 1,000 km.

Source: Tesla

The recently introduced Tesla Model S Plaid is capable of breaking acceleration records, you say, but the Roadster must also carry mini rocket engines to reduce that distance to 1.9 seconds.

This the new Roadster will be powered by three electric motors, two at the rear and one at the front, powered by a 200 kWh battery. It is no longer a two-seater vehicle, but a four-seater, with a retractable panoramic roof. And, again, these features are the ones announced in 2017.

Source: Tesla Fans Switzerland

This model was announced in 2017, and its marketing has been repeatedly delayed. It is not a priority for Tesla, although it is unlikely that it will be marketed in 2023. The American company prefers to focus on the construction of its Gigafactory in Shanghai and Berlin, the expansion of other Gigafactories, the commercialization of the Model Y, the introduction of the Cybertruck pick-up, autonomous driving, and more recently the restyling of its Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X. Perhaps the future Model 2, whatever its name, will arrive even before the Second generation roadster.

Tesla Roadster Fandroid 2020

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