Is the Roadster II the Next Car Tesla Should Build?
One thing you have to say about Elon Musk and Tesla Motors, they do dream big in vision and this past Thursday night, in sheer size, maybe even in audacity. Musk not only rolled out a pair of super semis, tucked inside on of them was the promised Roadster. Unlike Tesla's first car, it's not a converted Lotus. It's a "from-the-ground-up" 2+2 supercar that will blow the doors off the best of them, including the $3 million Bugatti Chiron (see graphic below).
Consider: zero-60 mph in 1.9 seconds. The quarter mile in 8.8 seconds. Top speed said to be more than 250 mph. Driving range of 620 miles (1000 km). These are numbers that Navy F-18 Hornet pilots being shot by catapult off an aircraft carrier can appreciate as they go from a standing start to 170+ mph in 2 seconds.
And what's the cost of the ticket to ride? The limited edition Founder's series of the car is a cool quarter million dollars with $50,000 deposit; only 2,500 will be built. Delivery expected sometime on or around 2020. Subsequent runs of the car will be only $200,000.
Granted lots of people have asked Musk when Tesla will build a successor to the Roadster. They now have their answer: soon. But is this the car Tesla needs to be building? Sure, the original Roadster can largely be credited with not only launching one of the best and brightest startups of the early 21st century (who's not heard of Tesla?). It's EV World's view that it helped revive what was a dying technology, nearly strangled by carmaker indifference and fossil fuel industry malice. But does the world really need another "supercar?"
From Tesla's perspective, the car not only keeps the company's stock value from faltering as production delays continue to plague the Model 3, it also showcases that the company isn't stagnating technologically despite executive exits and production staff layoffs.
Elon Musk (god love him) reminds me of the stage performer who somehow keeps a half-dozen plates spinning on the tip of sticks while juggling a pair of running chain saws. How he manages is a mystery, and I am sure investors have to be sitting on the edge of their seats at times wondering when he'll catch the wrong end of the saw.
Still, there are those who see the car as the right vehicle at the right time while questioning the wisdom of spending huge chunks of capital on "Teslas-are-expensive" over-the-road semis. It's not like there's no competition - see our interview with Nikola rounder Trevor Martin a year ago. Unlike the original Roadster or the Model S, there's already some serious competitors looking for a sizable slice of the over-the-road truck pie themselves. Fortunately, Tesla's reputation precedes it. Walmart announced they'll test the truck and J.B. Hunt, one of America's largest trucking companies, has placed an order already.
So, in a way, the race is on inside Tesla as to which vehicles it can deliver first and which will prove the most profitable: Roadster supercar or Super Semi.
Tesla assembles first production Model 3 with plans to gradually ramp up to 20,000 a month by December
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