You didn’t forget about the Tesla Roadster 3.0 did you? They are still over 2,000 Roadsters on the road today accumulating millions of electric miles and some are starting do so in longer stretches with the upgraded 3.0 battery pack.
At the 2016 Tesla Shareholders Meeting last month, a Roadster owner (#33 delivered in 2008) and Tesla shareholder asked when he can expect his upgrade, which was first announced in late 2014 and he already had placed his order. CTO JB Straubel responded that the new packs are coming, but with limited production.
Now we learn that the retrofitted packs, which are rated at about 340 miles of range, are now trickling down to select Tesla service centers and a few owners are reporting having received the retrofit.
Straubel explained why the company can’t really keep up with the demand right now which is why there is a few months wait when ordering the Roadster 3.0 battery upgrade:
“We have a pretty limited production capacity. We are using some very old Roadster production equipment […] We can right now build a few battery packs a week – something like 3, 4, 5ish a week or I should say ‘retrofit’ since we take back the old battery pack and we retrofit completely into a new battery pack.”
Tesla says that at $29,000 for the upgrade, the company doesn’t expect to make a profit and it is offering the new battery as “a show of appreciation for the support of early Tesla customers”:
“The price of the Roadster 3.0 battery upgrade is $29,000, including all labor and logistics. This is equal to Tesla’s expected cost. It is not our intention to make a profit on the battery pack. The reason the cost per kwh is higher than a Model S battery is due to the almost entirely hand-built, low-volume (only two or three per week) nature of Roadster battery packs. lt also includes additional work to remove, upgrade, and reinstall the power electronics module (PEM).”
The new battery has a capacity about 40% greater than the original pack, which roughly takes it to 80 kWh – hence the new ‘R80’ badge. The total range is now about 340 miles and Tesla says that it was able to stretch it to make the ~380 miles trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles without stopping to charge.
Owners can place a $5,000 deposit to get in the queue for an upgrade and join in the discussion with other Roadster owners who placed an order or some who already received the upgrade on Tesla Motors Club.
Roadster 3.0 is likely to be the last iteration of the original Roadster as Tesla is reportedly planning an all-new generation by the end of the decade. A Tesla executive recently described the next generation Roadster as “different, faster and bigger”.