Tesla's Wildest New Car May Not Arrive Until Next Year (At the Earliest)

The new Tesla Roadster may make even the Model S Plaid look pedestrian. But don't expect to see it in 2021.

tesla roadster
Tesla

Tesla's first car, launched back in 2008, was the Tesla Roadster. It was not the greatest car ever made — even Elon Musk called admitted it was a disaster — but the Roadster did signal Tesla's intent to make exciting electric cars.

For years now, Tesla has been planning a spectacular do-over of that model in the form of a second-generation Roadster, which it surprise unveiled back in 2017. We've been waiting for it to emerge ever since...and according to the second-richest man in the world, we'll have to wait a bit longer.

Musk — who now basically serves as Tesla's PR department since the brand no longer has one — has confirmed the Tesla Roadster won't arrive in 2021. Tesla's goal is to have a drivable prototype on the road this summer, and begin Roadster production sometime in 2022.

If the new Roadster meets the initial specs, it should be even more bonkers than the Model S Plaid. Tesla has claimed it will have a range of 620 miles, a top speed higher than 250 mph (so, faster than an IndyCar hits going around an oval track), and a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds. The price tag should match the performance, coming in north of $200,000.

Will Tesla produce that specific car on that timeline? It's never quite clear when it comes to the bold claims of the Silicon Valley carmaker. Musk, after all, has also promised to beat all other automakers and tech companies to Level 5 autonomous driving by the end of 2021, a year after promising 1 million Tesla robotaxis on the road by the end of 2020...

...and two years after promising self-driving cars on the road by the end of 2019...

...and six years after promising self-driving cars on the road by 2017.

And Tesla still has a Cybertruck to start building this year.

And it has to roll out the Tesla Semi by the end of 2021, as well.

And develop an affordable car in the near future.

And, as Elon Musk said this week, begin work on a new van.

When it comes to Tesla, perhaps only things we can state with confidence is there will not be a Roadster in showrooms to buy this year — and that, when it does go on sale, it won't be built on a Lotus platform like the first one.

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