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Tesla Roadster 2020: Elon Musk tempers expectations on timing, boosts SpaceX package

Tesla has been guiding the release of a new generation of the Roadster in 2020, but Elon Musk warned that the new electric hypercar is only a “dessert” and not really a priority as Tesla focuses on other things.

There’s no doubt that Tesla is still spending a lot of manpower on Model 3 and they made it clear that Model Y would be the priority after that.

But ever since unveiling an impressive prototype at the end of 2017, Tesla has been guiding the launch of a new Roadster in 2020.

The automaker started taking reservations and they used the vehicle as a prize in their referral program.

Now CEO Elon Musk appears to be tempering expectations about the timing of the release of the new Roadster.

When asked about the state of the Roadster program on Ride the Lighting podcast this weekend, Musk said:

“The new Roadster is a kind of dessert. Do we really need the new Roadster to accelerate our progress toward autonomy or toward electrification? No.”

The CEO didn’t outright say that the new Roadster is delayed nor did he confirm timing for production, but he made it clear that it isn’t a priority right now.

Musk also hinted at a potential production volume for the new Roadster for the first time:

“I don’t know, but it’s probably not more than 10,000 [units per year].”

While Musk is being timid about the timing, he is not shy about boosting the performance of the new Tesla Roadster:

“We are going to do some things with the new Roadster that are kind of unfair to other cars.”

He again referenced the ‘SpaceX package‘, which consists of cold air thrusters installed on the vehicle to give it an incredible power boost.

The CEO mentioned a potential 3 Gs of thrust:

“If you have 3 Gs of thrust, you can go in any direction. You can go up and accelerate with still more than 2 Gs.”

It’s not the first time that Musk claimed that the new Roadster is going to be able to lift off the ground.

Musk says that Tesla plans to “erase any halo effect of gasoline cars” with the new Roadster.

After a recent outing of the Tesla Roadster prototype, we got our first look at the next-gen Roadster’s trunk and as well as the back seats and door system.

Electrek’s Take

I feel like Tesla’s 2020 target was the best case scenario back in 2017 – meaning that 2020 would be the year they would release the Roadster if all goes well.

Of course, things didn’t go 100% as planned at Tesla over the last year and a half, which is why I am not surprised Elon appears to be trying to temper expectations.

The 10,000 units per year figure is also interesting though I think it’s on the high side.

We are still talking about a $200,000 vehicle. The market at this price is pretty small. It will likely steal sales from higher price vehicles due to its performance being even more impressive than $1 million supercars, but the market for those vehicles is even smaller.

In my humble opinion, the new Tesla Roadster is going to come in low volume after the Model Y ramp up, which should put it more around mid-2021. I can see Tesla ramp it up to 2,000-5,000 units in 2022.

The Tesla pickup truck will likely take priority, but Tesla also can’t push the Roadster too far since they have already been taking reservations with deposits.

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