It's been quite a while since we've had news about the Tesla Roadster. The original Tesla electric vehicle hasn't been sold in the US for years and we're in a quiet period before the next-generation shows its face. We were fine with the status quo – it's not like Tesla Motors isn't keeping busy with other projects in the meantime – but something that CEO Elon Musk said during the annual shareholder meeting caught our eye this week: the Roadster will get some sort of update before the end of the year.

Details were obviously not disclosed, but Musk did say that something cool is coming:

We are planning on I think a fairly exciting upgrade to the Roadster. I'm hoping we can get it done later this year. I did say it would be this year and ... yes, we will get it done this year. ... So, we're going to do something cool with Roadster before the end of this year.

Anyone want to guess what this upgrade might be? We know that Roadster batteries are performing better than expected, so we're going to discount that possibility that these older EVs will be made compatible with Tesla's Supercharger technology. But Musk did say at the meeting that this tech is available to other automakers, if they could somehow make an EV that can handle the Supercharger's 135-kW output (a number that Tesla hopes to increase in the future):

There is no other electric car that can accept anything close to 135 kilowatts. We are more than happy to have other manufacturers do this. And I've said this publicly on a few occasions. No one's approached us and said they'd like to use it. We are happy to have them do so. They just have to contribute to the capital cost, so figure out what percentage of the time are their cars using the Supercharger network and then they can make a contribution proportionate to their customer usage of the Supercharger network. So, we're very open to such a thing.


elon musk shareholder meeting 2014

Musk also confirmed he is open to remaining at Tesla for another half decade or so, until at least when the company's lower-cost, third-generation car gets to "volume production." He said that's maybe four or five years away and that there is "a lot of time" to figure out who will replace him when he does finally step down. We know the car is not going to be the Model E (thanks to Ford's trademark, Musk said) and that the company's targets are for it to cost around $35,000 before incentives and have a range of more than 200 miles.

There will also be an upcoming software update will allow for more customization of today's Model S, including the ability to name your vehicle and have that name show up in the companion smartphone app. Musk also said the car will soon be able to anticipate where you're going and potentially route you on an alternate path based on traffic conditions.

You can learn more about what was said at the meeting, and see videoes of the event, here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      @ 1:10:50 Autopilot update: "Within 1 year, you should be able to go from Highway On-ramp, to Highway Off-Ramp... without touching the controls" ------------------- Sorry to spam several root-level comments. But if ABG is going to focus on trivial BS.. and isn't going to deliver the bullet points... someone should.
        danfred311
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        does that mean it will be retrofit for Model S? or an option in X? or just test vehicles. If it's in production this soon I don't think it can be anything other than the system Mercedes is using. No way they could have developed it that fast.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      Hearing from Director Antonio J. Gracias himself: @ 1:05:35 "So I am NOT dumping my shares. The sold shares were less than 25% of my holdings, and I also run an Investment firm.. and need to create liquidity... and that is where the money is going. I am a very long term TSLA investor"
      RyanC
      • 6 Months Ago
      If this ends up being a full from the ground up replacement of the Roadster, look out "fill in the blank" (everyone)!~
      calderasf
      • 6 Months Ago
      Wow I can name my car and it shows up on a cell phone then people can stare at it when they walk out into the street and get hit by me driving by.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 6 Months Ago
        @calderasf
        Wait until they have autonomous cars then you can jump out in front of it. That or you would have to have a "Knight Rider" car. "Kit, hit me, hit me Kit". Like in Rocky, Mic, cut me, cut me Mic.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 6 Months Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          Obviously I had the same thing for breakfast that Calderasf had. Perhaps we have the same doctor.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @calderasf
        Huh??? Meds... take em now.
          Dave D
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          And stop taking the ones he was using...they clearly were not prescription
      danfred311
      • 6 Months Ago
      Reviving the roadster program with inhouse production of welded chassis, fiber glass body and much lighter pack is a very obvious opportunity for Tesla but they seem oblivious to that. What Elon is alluding to here has to be supercharger compatibility. Why you conclude that it can't be that, Sebastian, is a mystery to me.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        They already plan to do a full reboot Roadster using the latest Tesla manufacture materials and techniques.... in 3-4 years.
          Jon
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @dan It will not be based on the S. It will be based on the smaller gen 3 platform. Model X then gen 3 then next gen roadster.
          danfred311
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Based on model S is will be a repulsive fatty. And expensive.
          danfred311
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          how do you know? I think they once said it will be based on Model S. But it could change
        Rotation
        • 6 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        I can't imagine. That car just isn't up to what is expected from Tesla now. It's not very high quality and the high up battery packs it dynamically disappointing. I don't think they'd be wise to resume production of the same model.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      @ 46:28 Elon plans on doing something "fairly significant on the front [of other automakers building more EVs]" that might be "kinda controversial regarding Tesla's Patents"... He's going to write a paper explaining. ?
      Jesse Gurr
      • 6 Months Ago
      Joeviocoe, I'm gonna steal a link you posted in the Tesla battery storage story earlier this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWSox7mLbyE (7:50-7:55) This is JB Straubel talking about battery storage at Tesla. I thought it was interesting when he said that the 85kWh battery in the S is physically smaller than the Roadster battery(53kWh). I can really see Tesla offering a 60 or 85 kWh battery to Roadster owners, for a fee of course. Basically gets Roadster owners a new car until the next Roadster comes out, well almost new. Similar to a "mid-cycle refresh"? Plus, lighter weight, more range, and SC access, like others have theorized. The battery doesn't have to be flat like the S battery of course, its made up of smaller blocks and could easily be rearranged to fit in the Roadster.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        Better ask JB for permission,... but this information should be given freely. I doubt Tesla will do a complete battery refresh this year... that could very well happen for the Reboot Roadster in 3-4 years... but a complete pack redesign would be needed. The Roadster pack is very different from the S pack... not so much that the cells are a whole lot less dense, but the pack configuration is not nearly as efficiently managed for space, as the Model S pack. It is far more likely that the single "upgrade" happening this year... is a new charge port connector with DC charging capabilities (currently only 16.8 kw AC) and access to the Supercharger network.
      Dave D
      • 6 Months Ago
      I think they're going to add a cupholder.
      protomech
      • 6 Months Ago
      Enabling the Roadsters for SC access seems like the most likely upgrade to me. They probably won't charge quite as fast as the 60 kWh Model S, but they have plenty of range to move from one Supercharger to the next. Despite a higher drag coefficient, the Roadster is substantially smaller and slightly more efficient (@70 mph, ~300 Wh/mile vs ~350 Wh/mile) than the Model S, so charge times in terms of miles charged per hour should still be quite good. This may also make the Roadsters compatible with CHAdeMO chargers as well, which would probably charge almost as fast as a Supercharger.
        Grendal
        • 6 Months Ago
        @protomech
        Tesla has said on a number of occasions that the Roadster system is incompatible with the SC network. It would probably take switching out the pack or the PEM to allow SC. So I don't think that is it. How about the ability to upgrade to Model S batteries with SC access? That would have a cost but Tesla would do it for a break even price.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          DC charging is much simpler inside the vehicle than AC charging. From the battery's perspective, it can accept DC power input up to its rated power output (greater than 215 kw)... but of course, only for a small amount of time before overheating. A good rule of thumb is 60% of the peak power output, can be used for input charging. Nissan Leaf can charge up to 44 kw and has a peak output of 80 kw. The Model S can charge up to 135 kw and has a peak output of 225 kw. The components involved for DC charging are simple. The plug connector, the interconnects to the main DC contacts, contactors that remain open except when charging, and maybe a few safety components that aren't connected in series.. to measure and open the breaker if a fault is detected. The Battery pack already has high power connection to the Motor Inverter, which can be used so that no new internal battery connections need be soldered. Every bit of software would need a revision of course. Otherwise the BMS would not know how to interpret the power flow.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Just to have access and the ability to use the super charger network would be a plus even if it was not at full capacity like the Models S. Two ways to charge, DC to DC and AC to DC utilizing onboard charger or chargers in my case. : ) I don't remember if the Roadster had DC to DC connections. If it did not then enabling it to use the SC network will be more involved. Maybe this DC to DC interface is simple for Tesla as others have stated because they are producing it for the Model S.
          itsme38269
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          More like the pack *and* PEM. Supercharger access would not be practical for Roadsters. Possible, but not practical, especially given the cost of doing all of this and the limited market for the upgrade.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Why would it not be practical for the Roadster (245 miles) to get Supercharger access? It really shouldn't be that difficult or expensive. They've got the components for that on hand... and there is nothing so special about the Roadster that would make it physically difficult.
          Rotation
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Joeevicoe: It has a smaller pack than any Model S. 135kW charging rate would be too fast for it. The larger pack, the more power you can put in or pull out of it. For this small pack, it would be overwhelmed. It's immaterial in this case anyway, the pack has to be wired in a certain way and have a lot of temperature and voltage/current sensors within the pack to allow fast charging. And the pack likely doesn't have those. So you'd need a new pack. Another nice thing would be if Tesla simply had an update to reduce the parasitic power loss when left overnight. The Roadster has a higher power loss rate than the Model S. Maybe it could be improved with some software changes, as the Model S was.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          --"135kW charging rate would be too fast for it." Wrong. Although energy density being increased will usually result in a power density increase too. A 53 kwh is still plenty big enough for 135KW. The power Output, is a good indicator of the potential for power Input. "The pack weighs 990 pounds, stores 56 kWh of electric energy, and delivers up to 215 kW of electric power. " http://www.teslamotors.com/roadster/technology/battery Then watch the meeting again @47:30. "Energy density is different from power density" "Power defines your acceleration and Charge Rate" "We don't have a constraint on power for the Model S" (225 kW for the S60) So the difference between the 60kwh Model S which CAN charge at 135KW... and the 53kwh Roadster pack... is 7 kwh... and only 10 KW of power output. 135KW is 63% of the peak power output (215 kw, which the car can hold only for a short time) Just as 135KW is 60% of the peak power output for the Model S 60 (225 kw, which is also for a short duration). Bottom line... it is already proven that a Tesla battery pack can easily charge at a constant rate at 60% of the peak power output. The constraint is NOT the battery pack. More likely the fact that the Roadster has no interconnects, safety interlocks, etc... rated for charging DC. All of which can be installed at minimal cost at this phase... since the volume production of the Model S could easily allow for components to be used in the Roadster.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Also.. no, there need not be any new internal connections between cells for a "New Pack". The same internal wiring, sensors, etc.. that allows for handling power Output at 215 KW... can handle the power Input of 135 KW. There are NO high powered Diodes between the cells that allows 215 kw of power in one direction, and only allows 16.8 kW in the other direction.
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      Not to be a Negative Nancy but I expect the upgrade is simply changing the charging port to Tesla's Model S connector. I dunno about Supercharging. Simply going to Tesla's new connector will make things easier on Tesla at their stores and on customers, no need to have that huge adapter on hand. And they could use J1772 easier too with the tiny adapter that Model S's have. And Tesla doesn't have to stock replacement parts for the old EVSEs and such either. win-win-win-win.
        Naturenut99
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Exactly. But I wouldn't call that being negative at all. That's the most logical, easiest and important upgrade. Other than that it would have to be supercharger access which would require changing to the Model S connector anyway. So back to square 1. It's changing to the Model S connector.
          Rotation
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Naturenut99
          Also means Tesla can replace (presumably for free) Roadster EVSEs for the new ones with the temperature sensor in the swappable head so that Roadster owners get the same protection against poorly-wired outlets that Model S owners get.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      Musk now says that Tesla will likely break ground (foundation, planning, permitting) on 3 states for the Gigafactory... and 'down-select' Gigafactory-1 location by the end of this year. (seemingly to leave the 2 other locations ambiguous into 2015)
      Smoking_dude
      • 6 Months Ago
      A replacement of the 53kwh roadster pack with a retrofitted 60kwh pack would be really nice. Or at least a pac made out of the newer cells. It would be superchargeable and the light roadster could really make some decent miles with it. even if they only replace the connector they could offer a slower supercharge. the few roadserts would not be a problem.
        Grendal
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        Hah. That was exactly what I thought too. As a thank you they could do it for a break even price or just a little extra.
        itsme38269
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        Larger pack? Why? The car already has too much range. If anything, I want a smaller pack. A smaller pack would make the car lighter, faster, handle better, *and* more efficient, which means it would get the same range with a smaller pack. Or, at the very least, the same energy storage pack, but with lighter cells - again this would give more range and speed, but a larger pack is wholly unnecessary. The car needs to be made lighter. This would be much better for driving dynamics, and extra range would give almost zero practical benefit.
          Edward W
          • 6 Months Ago
          @itsme38269
          The current 60 kwh pack is physically smaller and lighter than the stock 53 kwh that came with the Roadster. I doubt that Tesla will make available that type of upgrade to Roadster owners but maybe I'm wrong. It would be pricey for sure. However the improvement in range and performance could be worth it to many owners.
          Smoking_dude
          • 6 Months Ago
          @itsme38269
          well 53kwh ist almost 60kwh of the model s. a "larger" capacitiy wise pack can take higher loads during charging. of course one could stay with the 53kwh and upgrade the cells only and ad the SC wireing and protocols. still a roadster with a tesla pack would be awesome. :)
          Jesse Gurr
          • 6 Months Ago
          @itsme38269
          "The car already has too much range." First time I've heard that particular complaint...
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