Published on August 12th, 2014 | by Jo Borrás


New Tesla Roadster Coming in 2017 … Maybe

August 12th, 2014 by  

Lotus Elise Concept

Originally posted on GAS2

Tesla launched its brand with a simply styled, brutally fast convertible called the Tesla Roadster. It was based heavily on the featherweight Lotus Elise roadster, which may or may not become the car you see, above: the on-again, off-again 2015 Lotus Elise concept.

Now, rumors are starting to circulate about an all-new Tesla Roadster coming in 2017. All of which begs the question, “Will Tesla’s next Roadster, then, be based on Lotus’ next Elise?”

Probably not.

All the same, an updated Tesla Roadster is expected to be one of four – four! – all-new Tesla models that (the usually reliable) Autobild magazine claims will be released by 2017, just in time to carry a “2018” model year designation. We already know about the hot-selling Model X SUV/crossover and Model 3 “mainstream” sedan made to take on the Chevy Volt PHEV and Nissan Leaf, but Autobild is claiming that, along with the new Tesla Roadster, a new compact city car – similar in size and concept to the BMW i3 – will be joining the lineup, as well.

With a compact, a pair of sedans, an SUV, and – now – an updated sports car, Tesla could become the first full-line, all-electric carmaker in … maybe 100 years? Something like that.

Let us know what you think of Tesla’s big plans, and whether or not you think they’d be better off with a Lotus-tuned chassis (my take: they would be) in the comments, below.

Source: Autobild, via World Car Fans.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • tom

    Merge with apple.add that apple car a full size nice looking conversion van and work van.

  • Vincent Wolf

    Make a convertible 4 seater Tesla EV with AWD, 300+ mile range, and P85D performance and I’ll buy it. Make it two wheel drive and you can drop it in the trash as far as I’m concerned. All EV’s should be AWD to take advantage of the massive instant torque that EV’s can and should have.

  • Elon, neatly fit a large solar panel between those flying buttresses.

    I know it won’t provide *that much* charge to the battery, but it is the principle of the thing. And a talking point.

    • Maxwell Erickson

      And an extra $5000 for your car.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    If the Model III is 4/5th the length of the Model S it would be about 4m long. Elon has said the Model S was built with the long term goal of having a basic chassis to accept new bodies (e.g. the Model X) so maybe the same will apply to the Model III i.e. the new Roadster could be built on the Model III rolling chassis. Just a thought.
    Elon said adapting an existing chassis (the Lotus glider) was one of Tesla’s biggest mistakes (he elaborated to say they ended up with just 5% of the original left by the time the project was finished) so it is almost certain they won’t use a Lotus glider again.
    Best regards.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The Tesla S has a 116.5″ wheelbase. The Nissan Leaf a 106.3″ wheelbase. 91% as long.

      A 4/5ths (~93.2″)wheelbase would suggest a car shorter than the Leaf, which might be fine with the batteries placed low, under the floorboard. Still plenty passenger and cargo room.

      The original Roadster has a 92.6″ wheelbase.

      Two or three sizes of chassis could cover a lot of models.

  • Rob Harris

    I think it is safe to assume that Elon Musk will Steve Jobs everybody

  • RobS

    I think it’s highly unlikely a future Tesla vehicle will be based on anyone else’s glider, they have gotten too good at building their own to bother and integrating their trademark skateboard battery and drive train into an ICE glider is likely to be more difficult then building their own. Far more likely that a roadster will simply be one of the optional bodies available to be bolted on to the Gen 3 skateboard just as the model S and Model X are the two optional bodies available bolted on to the Gen 2 skateboard. On a related issue with all the interest in EVs for commercial use I am most disappointed they haven’t developed a van body on the Gen 2 skateboard for use as a mail, courier, delivery van I think a 200 mile EV delivery van is an enormous potential market and opens up the possibility of selling superchargers to private companies to use to charge a fleet of such vans.

  • garby

    No way, Elon Musk himself has stated that the design of the Roadster was disappointing. They used an existing shell because they weren’t in a position yet to build their own (no factory). There is no way they will ever go back to using someone else’s design, or any kind of building partnership for their own cars. There will definitely be a new Roadster or supercar from Tesla in the future, but as Musk has stated it will be after the release of Model 3, and it will be their own design. Think of a more aggressive S model, two doors, lots of power and the range of 2019 battery tech.

    • eveee

      And hopefully, a much lower Cd than 0.35, worse than many ordinary sedans.

      • Bug S Bunny

        And hopefully a much lower price.

        • garby

          I doubt it, it will be an ‘innovation’ display. Everything they can throw at it, to beat every other so called ‘supercar’ that relies on ICE. And that’s fine as it will kill any notion that ICEs are stronger/better/faster than electric motors. Just like the initial purpose of the Roadster, it will be a ‘this is what we can do’ car.

          • t1oracle

            I don’t expect the next roadster to be cheap, but it will probably be priced closed to the Model S.

      • garby

        look at what they did with their own design, the Model S. A 4-door saloon that has one of the best coefficients out there. There is no doubt that being able to place the batteries at the floor, and have everything above that be ‘designer’s choice’ is a HUGE advantage over any ICE car.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Absolutely. And a ‘batteries on bottom’, high powered sports car would be a joy to drive on a curvy road.

          ICEV performance is hurt by putting the weight high and toward one end. Even putting the engine mid-car helps.

          • garby

            exactly, we might even get an all wheel drive system as well. like an Audi R8 with perfect weight distribution, center of gravity, slip…etc basically everything done better. Would be a rocket on the road, an F1 minus the noise. The possibilities…

          • Bob_Wallace

            I hope they make it too difficult for my 70+ year old body to climb in and out of. Otherwise my mutual funds may suffer a hit.

        • eveee

          Yes. I think thats how Elon wants it, and good for him. He wasn’t satisfied with the roadster. I wish they got the states to dump the mirror requirements and put wheel skirts on the back a la EV-1. The Cd could go even lower and look sexier, too.

    • Alex

      I agree with everything you say but want to remind you and everyone else one important thing -> If they applied their current P85D motors to something like the previous Roadster they would have one badass sportscar on their hands. I mean just absolutely ridiculously fast. The P85D weights in at a hair under 5,000lbs and does 0-60 in 3.2 (some say 3.1) seconds. The roadster was about 2700lbs, add about 300lbs for the extra motor. and we’re talking about low 2 seconds. Seems like they could easily make a cool Mitsubiishi Evo/ Subaru STI type car too fi they wanted with lower power motors.

  • Offgridman

    This could be possible as anything is possible, but I have some doubts.
    As seen with the Model S and it would seem most likely the Model X also Tesla manufacturing is set up to have the batteries, drive train, and wheels all incorporated into a bottom pan that the body is then mounted to. So to put different body styles on to that lower assembly would not involve much work, but to start changing out the suspension, wheels and etc will require quite a bit of retooling and re-engineering. However improved suspension, and handling are already said to be coming in the Model X so possibly aspects of the Lotus type of suspension will be incorporated into the pan/drive train of all the vehicles. Makes the coming Model 3 sound even more enticing, and perhaps its shorter wheel base pan would be appropriate for a Roadster body with other sports car suspension additions possible for the extra cost.

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