Taken at face value, the Tesla Roadster 340-mile trip from San Jose to Santa Monica in California is a significant milestone. The direct drive in under 6 hours all without refueling will leave most EV owners’ mouths agape. There was even 40 minutes with the heater turned on and that huge climb (and subsequent decent) out of the Grapevine.

As we announced in December, the Roadster 3.0 upgrade will feature enhancements in battery cell technology, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance. These modifications should boost the Roadster’s range by 40 to 50%.

But I think this is bigger. This shows what the technologies Tesla has developed mean for the next generation of EVs. It means the Model X, even with its higher profile and expanded room, will be able to still handily be able to make it between Superchargers in the winter. Even more importantly, it shows that Tesla can make a BMW 3-series sized car go 200 miles with a lot less battery that previously expected.

If the new pack in the Roadster has 70kWh and goes 400 miles, doing a little math and guesswork, you only need about 45kWh to get a slightly bigger car to go 200 miles. (Assuming the car lies between the 35kWh and the 60kWh for the Model S with 200 mile range).

And that’s assuming technology stands still between now and then.

Tesla’s Blog entry on the Trip here and pasted below:

 

Roadster Road Trip Update: San Jose to Los Angeles on a Single Charge

The Roadster 3.0 package applies what we’ve learned from Model S to Roadster. No new Model S battery pack or major range upgrade is expected in the near term.

On the one-year anniversary of Tesla’s Cross Country Rally, we set out to drive non-stop from San Jose to Los Angeles on a single charge in a prototype of the Roadster 3.0 upgrade.

As we announced in December, the Roadster 3.0 upgrade will feature enhancements in battery cell technology, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance. These modifications should boost the Roadster’s range by 40 to 50%.

For our first test outing, we evaluated the prototype package on a historic route down the I-5 from our first Tesla store in San Jose to the Santa Monica Pier (via the Tesla Store on the 3rd Street Promenade), a distance of approximately 340 miles.

The trip was smooth, with no disruptions. On the highway, we set cruise control to stay right around the speed limit. We turned on the heater for a 40-minute stretch going over the Grapevine. And less than six hours from leaving San Jose, we pulled into the Santa Monica Pier, with 20 miles remaining in the battery pack.

The drive is a positive step in the evolution of the Roadster. Next up, we’ll apply our learning from the trip to further development work on the vehicle.

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