2023 Tesla Roadster to be torquier than Plaid, hints Elon Musk [Update]

The next-gen Tesla Roadster would need to one-up every other Tesla if it wants to be the flagship for the company. However, seeing Tesla continuously upgrading the Model S to industry-leading performance levels, one wonders how far it can go with the sedan. Well, Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla, finally has an answer.

‘Plaid+’ performance level expected

Before November 16, 2017, before the 2023 Tesla Roadster debut, ‘Ludicruous’ connoted the highest possible performance spec or mode at Tesla. Then, during the unveiling, Musk said that “there’s only one thing that’s beyond Ludicrous, which is Plaid.” “The new Tesla Roadster will be the fastest car (production car) ever made, period,” Musk continued, as he presented a 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 1.9 seconds for the 2023 Roadster on the massive display behind him. The world presumed that’s the figure Tesla was targeting for the top-end all-new Roadster in the Plaid mode.

Fast-forward to June 11, 2021, and Tesla starts selling the Model S in a ‘Plaid’ variant with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 1.99 seconds. One would naturally expect the company to work on something even better and unique for the 2023 Roadster. We don’t know for sure if Tesla is coining a new name for the Roadster’s meanest drive mode, but Musk has promised that the two-door model will offer even better performance.

“We have a few ideas for increasing torque & max rpm even further for new Roadster,” Musk said in a post on Twitter on June 13, 2021. “Definitely fun and exciting engineering ahead!” he added. For reference, the Model S Plaid uses three electric motors to produce 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 lb.-ft. of torque.

Musk has said the new Tesla Roadster would come with what the web calls the ‘SpaceX package’ consisting of cold air thrusters around the car to improve top speed, braking, and cornering.

2022 Tesla Roadster unveil Tesla Semi Elon Musk
Tesla was expecting to put the second-generation Roadster in the market in 2020 initially. Image Source: youtube.com/Tesla

On Tesla’s original Roadster

The first Tesla Roadster debuted in 2008, marking a historic milestone in the development of clean, zero-emissions electric vehicles. The Roadster was the first attempt from Tesla to build an electric car. It generated an extraordinary response because it proved that a high-performance electric car could work in the real world. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h was 3.9 seconds from its battery rated at 53 kWh powering the rear wheel-driven motor.

However, the Roadster was not a car built on a dedicated EV platform. Instead, Tesla licensed the chassis from Lotus and used drivetrain technology from start-up AC Propulsion. The original Roadster was never the end goal for Tesla. Instead, it was a proof of concept that would showcase what an EV can do, paving the way for their future electric cars, the Model S luxury sedan, and the Model X crossover SUV, Model 3, and Model Y.

All-new Roadster release date set in 2023

Unveiling the all-new Roadster in November 2017, Musk said: “Expect this to be available in 2020.” Multiple factors have repeatedly delayed the launch, and it’s also possible that the company’s priorities changed later.

Now, if no other issues crop up following the COVID-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage, the all-new Roadster could go on sale in 2023. Yes, that’d be a five-year gap between the product unveiling and market launch.

Assuming 2022 is not mega drama, new Roadster should ship in 2023.

Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla (via Twitter)

Musk expects the supply chain to normalize by 2023. Tesla could then start producing its statement-making all-new Roadster, which we expect to come with all of its next-gen EV technologies, something that would mean an electronics-intensive hardware package.

I think most likely what we’ll see is Cybertruck production in the next year and then reach volume production in 2023, and hopefully we can also be producing the semi and the new Roadster in 23 as well.

Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla (2021 annual shareholder meeting)

In a previous post on Twitter, Musk confirmed that Tesla plans to finish engineering the all-new Roadster this year. The company aimed to make the second-gen Tesla Roadster variant it plans to offer at launch drivable late summer this year.

Specifications & Features

The all-new Roadster sits on a dedicated EV platform and will maximize high-performance and efficiency with spectacular figures: 0-100 km/h in less than 1.9 seconds, wheel torque of 10,000 Nm, top speed of 402 km/h. In addition, it will feature an all-wheel-drive layout with torque vectoring (one electric motor at the front, two at the rear). With these specifications, it should outperform most supercars.

The Tesla Roadster prototype has a 200 kWh battery that supports supercharging at 350 kW DC and offers a range of 620 miles (997 km) at highway speeds, the longest driving range on a production EV. In addition, it features seating for two or four in its state-of-the-art cabin featuring a removable glass roof storable in the trunk.

Tesla 4680 Battery Cell

Reports say that Tesla will deploy its new 4680 battery cell format in the 2023 Roadster. The company has named the new format after its dimensions: 80 mm in length and around 46 mm in diameter. Andrew Baglino, Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Tesla, has said that the 4680 cells can offer far more power and increased range.

We get five times the energy with six times the power, and enable 16% range increase just (from the change in) form factor alone

Andrew Baglino, Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Tesla (Tesla Battery Day)

Putting the 4680 cells into series production is a challenge, and Tesla will take some time to sort it out. Musk revealed this development at the company’s Q2 2021 earnings conference call. In the same call, Baglino revealed that Tesla has successfully validated the performance and lifetime durability of the 4680 cells.

So it just goes through these rollers and gets squashed like pizza dough, basically, but very hard pizza dough. And it’s causing — it’s denting the calendar rolls. This is not something that happened when the calendar rolls were smaller, but it is happening when the calendar rolls were bigger. So it’s just like — we were like, OK, we weren’t expecting that.

Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla (Q2 2021 earnings conference call)

Citing sources, YouTube channel HyperChange’s host Galileo Russell later indicated that 4680 cell development is progressing now with fewer cells showing issues. Russell said that the production yield has improved to about 70-80% from just 20% a year ago. Tesla is conducting pilot production of the new-format cells at its Kato Road facility.

The 4680 cells will go into many Tesla models, not just the 2023 Roadster, and the Model Y is likely to be among the first. The 4680 cells won’t be low-volume technology limited to the most expensive Teslas. That is why the company is in talks with several suppliers to order them in large quantities. Reports suggest that Samsung SDI, LG Energy Solutions, Panasonic, and CATL could manufacture the new-format cells for Tesla. A report from 36kr.com suggests that cell production could begin in 2023.

Tesla is currently taking reservations for the Roadster priced at USD 200,000. In the past few years, Tesla has proven that electric vehicles can be desirable, have high performance, and be used as everyday cars. Tesla, with its facilities in the cradle of innovation, Silicon Valley, also holds an advantage over traditional automakers because it attracts some of the world’s best talent.

The new Roadster has learned some important lessons about bringing new technology to the market regarding transforming the auto industry. If Tesla delivers what is promised in 2017 at the unveiling of the prototype, there is no question that the 2023 Tesla Roadster is the new benchmark in electric vehicles offering supercar level performance with everyday usability.

2023 Tesla Roadster FAQs

What is new Tesla Roadster release date?

We expect the launch of the new Tesla Roadster in the second half of 2023.

What will be 2023 new Tesla Roadster price?

The new Tesla Roadster will cost USD 200,000 onwards.

Featured image: Tesla