Tesla Motors announces Roadster improvements

Tesla Motors announced on Friday that it will carry out three major improvements to the Roadster 3.0 package. After CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday that the battery upgrade would extend the vehicle’s range between charges to nearly 400 miles, enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the company’s formal announcement.

Batteries: the initial Roadster battery was Tesla’s first lithium ion battery put into production of any vehicle. In 2008, it was the most advanced battery of its kind. But since then technology has made advances.

Tesla says it has identified a new cell that is capable of producing 31% more energy than the original Roadster cell. The company wrote in its blog “Using this new cell we have created a battery pack that delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery.”

Aerodynamics: the 2008 Roadster had a Cd (drag coefficient) of 0.36. Tesla engineers say they will bring this down to 0.31, i.e. a 15% improvement with a retrofit aero kit.

Rolling resistance: the original roadster tires have a Crr (rolling resistance coefficient) of 11.0 kg/ton. With the new tires the Roadstar 3.0 will have a Crr of approximately 8.9 kg/ton, which represents an improvement of 20%.

Tesla added that it is carrying out improvements in the wheel bearings and residual brake drag that will further reduce overall rolling resistance of the vehicle.

Tesla Motors said in a statement:

“Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0. There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles.”

“We will be demonstrating this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015.”

“We are confident that this will not be the last update the Roadster will receive in the many years to come. Happy Holidays.”

The extended range between charges will be welcomed by Roadster owners who cannot use Tesla’s network of high-speed charging stations along principle interstate highways, which are designed for the Model S.

Video – The Tesla Roadster